EBT, or Electronic Benefits Transfer, is used in all 50 states in America. They benefit millions of low-income American families, and for many households, EBT makes the difference between making ends meet – or not.
So, is EBT easy to use? How can you check your EBT balance in Virgina? What can you buy – and more importantly, what can’t you buy with EBT?
Let’s find out.
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Table of Contents:
- What Is EBT?
- Frequently Asked EBT Questions
- How to Check Your EBT Card Balance (Virginia)
- The Bottom Line
- Need Burial Insurance?
What Is EBT?
EBT is the new way benefit recipients get their benefits, mostly SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits. Your monthly benefits are deposited into an online account each month, and you can use your EBT card to pay for your groceries.
You can’t use your EBT card to get cash, either from an ATM or by cashback. Your EBT is only designed to pay for food groceries to supplement a family’s diet, and can’t be used to pay for non-food groceries.
You can’t overspend your EBT balance. Once your benefits have run out, you’ll have no more money to use until your benefits renew next month.
Simply put, your EBT and SNAP benefits are designed to buy food for yourself and your family. Only food items are accepted.
Here’s what you can buy with EBT:
- Fruit and vegetables (canned, frozen, or fresh)
- Meat and poultry
- Fish and seafood
- Bread, grains, and cereals
- Dairy products (milk, cheese, etc)
- Non-dairy products (soy milk, almond milk, etc)
- Beans, nuts, legumes, etc
- Snack foods (chips, ice cream, candy, etc)
- Non-alcoholic beverages (juice, soda, etc)
- Baby food and formula
Here’s what you can’t buy with EBT:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Tobacco products
- Gambling/lottery tickets
- Pet food/live animals
- Household decor items
- Cosmetics, clothes, and other personal items
- Medicines, vitamins, and supplements
- Household supplies (paper goods, cleaning products, etc)
- Hygiene and grooming products (soap, shampoo, etc)
- Restaurant food or fast food
- Hot, pre-prepared food and drink (rotisserie chickens, hot coffee, etc)
As you can see, some unapproved items are fairly obvious. It stands to reason that you shouldn’t spend your EBT balance on alcohol or tobacco.
However, a few essential items, like hygiene products and household supplies, are still not covered by EBT. So, what can you do?
Most stores allow customers to make multiple payments on one load of shopping. You can use your EBT card to pay for your food items, and your own money to pay for non-food items.
You can also use EBT to order groceries online, on sites like Amazon, presuming that your products are covered by your benefits.
However, it’s worth noting that your EBT won’t cover extra costs, like delivery fees and tips. So, to use most online delivery services, you’ll need to have another method of payment lined up, besides your EBT card.
Frequently Asked EBT Questions
While EBT is a nationwide program, the rules for each individual state are usually different. For example, what you can and can’t buy might differ slightly between states. So, if you plan to travel or move to another state, it might be wise to check out where you can use your EBT card before you go.
- Who accepts EBT in Virginia?
Most mainstream stores accept EBT, and many wholesale and whole foods stores. Places like Walmart and the average grocery store will accept EBT cards.
However, if you’re not sure, ask a member of staff before you start shopping.
- Can I use my Virginia EBT card in another state?
Yes, you can use your EBT card in another state. However, if you have any questions, feel free to call the customer service number on the back of the card – it never hurts to check!
How to Check Your EBT Card Balance (Virginia)
The simplest way to check your EBT account balance is to review your last EBT purchase receipt. Of course, there are lots of reasons why this won’t work. You might have lost your receipt, or you might need to find out extra information.
Most users prefer to review their EBT account online. Logging into your electronic account is straightforward and relatively easy. Here’s how to do it:
- Step One: Start by visiting this website. It will take you directly to the login site for Virginia EBT. When you enter your user ID and password, you’ll be able to access your account, view your balance, and review other important information.
Step Two: If you’ve forgotten your user ID, don’t panic. Click on the “forgotten user ID” option below the login box. This will take you to another login box, where you’ll need to enter personal details, like a few digits of your social security number, date of birth, and your card number. Then you’ll need to answer the security questions you picked when you set up your account, and your user ID will be emailed to you.
Step Three: If you’ve forgotten your password, resetting it is simple. Click the “forgotten password” option below the login button. You’ll need to enter a few digits of your social security number, your date of birth, and your EBT card number. Then you can reset your password and create a new one.
Step Four: If you’re still having problems logging into your account, click the “help” option below the login button. This will open an information box that will review some helpful information about your account and how to log in.
The Bottom Line
Using the online EBT account is the easiest way to review your account and view vital information. You may not be initially comfortable with using your online account, but remember – practice makes perfect!
After a few successful logins, you’ll quickly get used to your new account. Before too long, you’ll hardly need to think about it at all.
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