For many American families, making ends meet isn’t something that happens by itself. Sticking to a budget is a good idea for any family, especially for low-income households.
If you receive EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfers), budgeting and keeping an eye on your current balance is even more important. Overspending or buying the wrong things can lead to extra charges and penalties, or even losing your benefits altogether.
So, what is EBT? Are there any extra benefits you should know about? More importantly, how can you check your balance? Let’s find out.
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Table of Contents:
- What Is EBT?
- Frequently Asked EBT Questions
- How Do I Check The Balance on My Florida EBT Card?
- How Do I Activate My Florida P EBT Card?
- Need Burial Insurance?
What is EBT?
EBT is an umbrella term for all benefits which are transferred electronically. While food stamps were once handed out as paper coupons, they’re now transferred electronically and used with a card.
To use your EBT balance, you’ll be given a plastic card similar to a credit or debit card. At participating stores, you can swipe your card to pay for approved household supplies (such as food, hygiene items, and more).
You can also use your EBT balance to shop online.
Frequently Asked EBT Questions
Especially for first-time users, figuring out how to use EBT can be a tricky process. Don’t worry, once you’ve checked your balance and used your benefits a few times, you’ll get used to the process. Let’s discuss a few commonly asked questions about EBT in Florida.
What Is P EBT?
The recent pandemic has had serious economic repercussions, and some families have lost part or all of their income. Children and students who previously benefited from free or reduced-price school meals may find themselves without these benefits, due to school closures.
P EBT, or Pandemic EBT, is a program of additional benefits given to children or students who already benefit from SNAP (Supplementary Nutritional Assistance Program). P EBT gives children and their families extra cash benefits, to buy the food and supplies the child would have received at school.
If you haven’t applied for P EBT, or you have an eligible child who hasn’t received their benefits, you can fill in the form here.
What Can I Spend P EBT Benefits On?
Just like your EBT balance, P EBT is designed to provide your household with its basic needs. Spending your benefits on unapproved supplies could result in getting your benefits withdrawn. Here are things you can spend your P EBT money on:
- Bread and cereals
- Meat and poultry
- Fruits and vegetables
- Nuts and seeds (including seeds to grow food)
Here are things you can’t spend your P EBT money on:
- Gambling/lottery tickets
- Pet food
- Soaps/hygiene/grooming products
- Hot foods
- Foods to eat in the store
- Household supplies
- Vitamins and medicines
Essentially, P EBT money is to be spent on food items only, not household supplies or non-essentials.
Will The P EBT Card Continue Into 2021 In Florida?
Does Florida EBT Balance Expire?
If you have any money left over from your EBT balance at the end of the month, it will roll on to the next month. Your balance won’t expire for at least a year.
However, some states will cancel your benefits if your account is inactive for over a year. If you want to use your benefits again, you’ll need to reapply.
How Do I Check The Balance On My Florida EBT Card?
There are several ways to check your Florida EBT balance. The simplest way to check your balance is to check the amount on your last receipt, but if you don’t have your last receipt, you can log into the online website, download the mobile app, or use the phone.
Step One: The website you’ll need to visit is www.ebtedge.com. Once you’re there, you’ll see several information boxes, one of which is for EBT cardholders. Click on “more information”.
Step Two: Next, you’ll be prompted to enter your login details, like your user ID and password. From there, you will be able to access your account and view your balance.
Step Three (OPTIONAL): If you have difficulty accessing your account, click the “trouble signing in?” option at the bottom right-hand corner of the webpage. From there, you’ll be prompted to choose what’s preventing you from getting into your account.
Step Four (OPTIONAL): If you’ve forgotten your password, click the “forgot password” option. From there, you’ll need to enter details like your user ID, along with your challenge question. You should have set up a challenge question when you originally activated your account.
Step Five (OPTIONAL): If you’ve forgotten your user ID, or you’re activating your P EBT card, click the “Forgot UserID” option, and you’ll be prompted to register a new user ID.
There is a mobile app available for EBT users, called the ebtEDGE mobile app. It’s available for both iPhone and Android users and can be a good way to keep an eye on your benefits and EBT balance.
If none of these options are available, you can use the customer service number on the back of your EBT card. The number to call is 1-888.356.3281.
How Do I Activate My Florida P EBT Card?
The simplest way to activate your Florida P EBT card is by phone or mobile app, using the ebtEDGE app.
Call the customer service number at 1-888.356.3281. You’ll need to have certain information handy:
- The six-digit date of birth for the child named on the card.
- Your zip code for your mailing address.
- The 16-digit number on the front of your card.
Once you have your EBT card and benefits set up, you can start to spend your cash and food stamps in participating stores.
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