How To Check Your EBT Balance In Tennessee [Get The Facts]

Food stamps are becoming more and more widely used in the US. Millions of low-income American families rely on their monthly benefits to feed their households. 

Like any other benefit, you likely have questions about your EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer, which mostly refers to SNAP benefits, which are also known as food stamps). 

What can you buy with your benefits? How can you keep an eye on your balance? Can you overspend? Let’s discuss the answers to these questions and more. 

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Table of Contents

What Is EBT? 

EBT, or Electronic Benefits Transfer, is how all food stamps and cash benefits are distributed. Your monthly benefits will be deposited into an online account, and you’ll be given a plastic card (like a debit or credit card) to pay for your groceries. 

Your EBT can’t be turned into cash. You can only use your card to pay for food at approved stores, and you can’t use an ATM to take out cash or ask for cashback. 

This is because EBT and SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) is designed to pay for a household’s food groceries, not non-food. 

It’s important to only buy approved items with your EBT balance. If you buy non-food items – even if they’re essential groceries – your payment will likely decline. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay for the items later, and risk getting your benefits suspended. 

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Here’s what you can buy with EBT:

  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Meat and poultry
  • Bread and grains
  • Cereals
  • Baking ingredients (flour, baking soda, sugar, etc)
  • Fish and seafood 
  • Dairy products
  • Beans, nuts, and legumes
  • Snack foods (chips, ice cream, candy, etc)
  • Non-alcoholic beverages

EBT is designed to pay for a household’s food. So, most food items will be covered by your EBT balance. It’s up to you what you choose to buy – you can even get some snacks, as well as nutritious food. 

Here’s what you can’t buy with EBT:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Tobacco products
  • Lottery tickets/gambling
  • Electronics
  • Clothes, furniture, or home decor items
  • Hot food, or preprepared food (such as rotisserie chickens)
  • Restaurant food or fast food
  • Vitamins, medicines, or supplements
  • Household supplies (this includes paper goods and cleaning products)
  • Hygiene and grooming products (shampoo, soap, sanitary pads, etc)

As you can see, some of the unapproved items are still essential, such as hygiene and grooming products and cleaning supplies. Fortunately, many stores will allow you to make several payments. This means that you can use your EBT balance to pay for the food items in your cart and use your own money to pay for your non-food groceries. 

You can’t overspend on your EBT card, as you can only use the money that’s in your account. Once you’ve run out of money, your card will decline. This can be embarrassing, but it saves you overspending!

Any leftover benefits will roll on to the next month, meaning that you can have a little extra to spend next time.  

Frequently Asked EBT Questions In Tennessee

While EBT is used in every state in America, there can be slightly different rules for each area. If you’re moving or traveling to another state, it’s good to do some research, to check which stores accept EBT, and how you’ll be able to use your benefits. 

  • How will P EBT last in Tennessee?
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P EBT, or Pandemic EBT, is an extra cash benefit given to eligible children and students. It’s designed for children who were eligible for free or reduced-price school means, which they now can’t access due to school closures. 

In Tennessee, P EBT has been reloaded to continue through September 2021, meaning that eligible children will continue to get their extra cash benefit to replace school meals

  • How long does it take to get approved for food stamps in Tennessee?

To apply for food stamps in Tennessee, you’ll need to fill out a series of forms and wait for a response. It may take up to 30 days for your application to be accepted. 

How To Check Your EBT Balance (Tennessee)

The easiest way to check your EBT balance is to review your last receipt. Your closing balance should be listed on the receipt. Alternatively, you can call the customer service number on the back of your EBT card

Most people prefer to check their accounts online and review additional information. Fortunately, logging onto your online EBT account is simple. 

  • Step One: First of all, visit the Tennessee EBT website here. This will take you directly to the login site for Tennessee EBT. You’ll be prompted to enter your user ID and password. Once you’ve done that, you can access your account, and view your balance and other info.

  • Step Two: If you’ve forgotten your password, don’t panic – all is not lost! Click the “forgot password” option below the login box. You’ll be prompted to add some details, such as your date of birth, EBT card number, and a few digits of your social security number. Then you can reset your password and enter a new one.

  • Step Three: If you’ve forgotten your user ID, click the “Forgotten User ID” option below the login box. You’ll be prompted to enter a few of your social security number digits, your date of birth, and your EBT card number. Alternatively, if this is your first time using the online EBT website, click the “Create User Account” option.
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Not everyone likes using online services. If you have difficulty using the online EBT site, call the customer service number on the back of your EBT card

Alternatively, if you’re having problems logging in, click the “Help” button underneath the online login box. 

The Bottom Line

For many households, EBT and SNAP benefits are a much-needed staple. These benefits allow low-income families to make ends meet without missing out on nutrition and a varied diet. 

Using your new EBT card can be a little tricky at first. Like everything else, it may take practice. 

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