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

For many American families, EBT can make the difference between making ends meet and eating well – or not. 

EBT, or Electronic Benefit Transfers, is designed to help low-income individuals and families. One of the most common EBT benefits is SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), designed to provide money for groceries. 

However, not everything is covered by EBT/SNAP money. How does EBT work? Where can you use EBT? How can you keep an eye on your balance? Let’s find out. 

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Table of Contents:

What Is EBT? 

EBT is used to deliver all electronic benefit transfers, including SNAP and other cash benefits. Instead of the classic food stamp coupons, you’ll receive your benefits in your EBT account, with a plastic card to pay for purchases. 

This makes online shopping much easier, and most stores will accept EBT cards. However, it does create some possible issues. 

For example, not all household groceries are covered by EBT. If you try and buy something not covered by EBT (such as cleaning products or pet food), your card may be declined. Even if the transaction goes through, you’ll have to pay for the item later, out of your own money. 

Here’s what you can buy with EBT: 

  • Meat and poultry
  • Fish and seafood
  • Fruit and vegetables 
  • Dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Bread
  • Grains and cereals
  • Nuts and seeds (including plant seeds to grow food in your own home or garden)
  • Snack foods (like ice cream, candy, and chips) and some energy drinks
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
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Here’s what you can’t buy with EBT:

  • Non-food household supplies, like clothes or furniture
  • Cleaning products
  • Hygiene and grooming products (unfortunately, this includes necessary products like soap, sanitary products, shampoo, etc)
  • Paper goods
  • Alcohol 
  • Tobacco products
  • Gambling/lottery tickets
  • Vitamins and medicines (some energy drinks are counted in this category)
  • Hot food, prepared and ready to eat (for example, a rotisserie chicken)
  • Restaurant food 
  • Pet food

Simply put, EBT/SNAP benefits are designed to provide a household with the money they need to eat nutritious, filling meals. 

You can’t overspend your EBT balance. Once you’ve run out of money, your card won’t work and you won’t be able to buy anything else. 

However, any money you have left on your balance at the end of the month will roll on to the next month. 

Frequently Asked EBT Questions In Ohio 

Every state has slightly different rules surrounding EBT and other benefits. While the basic rules are usually the same, if you’re moving or traveling to a different state, it could be worth your while to check out the EBT regulations in that state. 

Let’s briefly discuss a few commonly asked questions about EBT in Ohio. 

Who accepts EBT in Ohio?

Most large stores accept EBT cards in Ohio, and so do many smaller retailers. 

Of course, it’s always good to check – after all, you don’t want to have the cashier ring up a cart full of shopping only to find out the store doesn’t accept EBT!

If you’re not sure which local stores accept EBT, try using the SNAP Retailer Locator. To use the locator, enter a zip code or street address. After entering your starting location, you should see nearby retailers which accept SNAP benefits and EBT cards, along with directions and extra information. 

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Better yet, you can use your EBT card to shop online. 

Does Amazon accept EBT?

Yes, Amazon does accept EBT cards, and you can shop on Amazon with your EBT card in Ohio. 

While the vast majority of Amazon products won’t be suitable to buy with an EBT card (as they’re mostly non-food products), there are still things you can buy on Amazon.

Do I have cash benefits on my EBT card?

EBT is designed to provide you with food – not cash. Technically, your EBT balance is cash, but you can’t withdraw that cash to use yourself. Once the cash is withdrawn, EBT users could use that cash to buy anything – even tobacco or alcohol

EBT cards can’t be used at ATMs, and your EBT balance can only be used to pay for food groceries and other approved goods. 

How To Check Your Ohio EBT Balance

The easiest way to keep track of your EBT balance, in Ohio or any other state, is to hang onto your receipts. Receipts from EBT purchases not only list the items you’ve bought and your total but record your closing balance.

Alternatively, you can call the Ohio customer service number at 1-866-386-3071. 

Many EBT users prefer to check their EBT balance online. Fortunately, this is a very simple process. 

  • Step One: Start by visiting the Ohio EBT login site. Once there, you’ll be prompted to enter your user ID and password. Once you’ve logged in, you can view your balance and other private information. 
  • Step Two (Optional): If you have other concerns, or you’re having difficulty logging into your account, click the “Help?” option below the login box. To the right of the login box, you’ll see frequently asked questions, such as “How do I use my Ohio DIRECTION Card to shop?”. You can click on any of these questions if necessary. 
  • Step Three (Optional): If you’ve forgotten your user ID, click on the “Forgotten User ID” option below the login box. You’ll then be prompted to enter personal details, like your social security number, date of birth, and EBT card number. 
  • Step Four (Optional): If you’ve forgotten your password (don’t worry, we’ve all done it!), click on the “Forgotten Password” option below the login box. You can enter your EBT card number, social security number, and more to reset your password and create a new one. 
  • Step Five (Optional): Lastly, you can click on the “Create User Account” option if you’re signing in for the first time. You’ll need details such as your social security number, date of birth, and EBT card number. 

The Bottom Line

Try not to worry too much when using your EBT card. You can’t overspend, and you usually won’t be allowed to buy unapproved goods.

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