EBT, or Electronic Benefits Transfer, is a governmentally issued benefit for low-income Americans, and one that makes a world of difference for many families.
The amount of money you’ll receive will depend on your income and the size of your family, but EBT is always designed to pay for a household’s food.
However, like any governmentally issued benefit, EBT comes with rules and regulations. So, how can you use EBT? What can you buy with EBT in Vermont, and how can you check your balance?
Let’s find out.
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Table of Contents:
- What Is EBT?
- Frequently Asked EBT Questions in Vermont
- Checking Your EBT Balance in Vermont
- The Bottom Line
What Is EBT?
In fact, EBT is used to refer to a number of different types of benefit, including FA (Family Assistance) and, most commonly of all, SNAP benefits (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). SNAP benefits have replaced traditional food stamps coupons.
Benefits are now distributed via an electronic account, and paid for with a plastic EBT card. You can’t use your EBT card to withdraw cash from an ATM, or to request cash back at the till. Your EBT balance is only to be used to pay for food groceries.
So, does it matter what you use your EBT card for?
Yes, it does. Buying unapproved items will lead to your card being declined, or your account being suspended. In the worst case scenario, your benefits may be suspended altogether.
Here’s what you can buy with EBT:
- Fruit and vegetables (frozen, canned, or fresh)
- Meat, poultry, or fish
- Dairy and non-dairy products (cheese, milk, almond milk, etc)
- Baby food and formula
- Snack foods (ice cream, chips, candy, etc)
- Non-alcoholic beverages
- Bread, cereals, and grains
- Baking ingredients (flour, sugar, etc)
- Nuts, beans, legumes, etc
As you can see, most whole food ingredients are covered by EBT benefits. However, not all foods are suitable to buy with an EBT card, as you’ll find out next.
Here’s what you can’t buy with EBT:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Tobacco products
- Lottery tickets/gambling
- Medicines, vitamins, and supplements (some energy drinks fall under the “supplements” category)
- Hot, preprepared food and drink (like hot coffee or rotisserie chickens)
- Pet food
- Electronics, clothes, cosmetics, or other personal items
- Grooming and hygiene products (like soap, shampoo, pads, tampons, etc)
- Household supplies (like paper goods or cleaning products)
Some items not covered by EBT are clearly essential household items, for example, hygiene products and household supplies. Most stores allow customers to make multiple payments on one order, so you can use your EBT card to pay for food groceries and your own money to pay for non-food groceries.
You can’t overspend on your EBT account. Your monthly benefits will be paid into your account on the same day every month, and once the money has run out, you won’t be able to make any more payments.
On the other hand, any unspent cash benefits will roll on to the next month, where you’ll have a little extra to spend.
Frequently Asked EBT Questions in Vermont
While EBT cards are used in just about every part of America, each state may have slightly different rules. So, if you plan to travel or move to another state, you may want to consider researching that state’s rules for EBT users.
Let’s discuss a few commonly asked questions about using EBT in Vermont.
- Can I use my Vermont EBT card in another state?
Yes, you can. Like most EBT cards, you can use a Vermont EBT card wherever you go, in participating stores. Some stores also allow you to use your EBT card to pay for online food deliveries, too.
However, you will need to have another method of payment available, like a debit or credit card. This is because while the cost of food items is covered by your EBT card, other charges like delivery fees and tips are not covered by EBT.
- What is considered low income in Vermont?
For a single person in Vermont, you will still be eligible for SNAP benefits and other income supplements if you’re earning less than $19 250. The income limit goes up for larger families. For example, a family of three should earn less than $24 750 to be eligible.
You can find more information about family benefits in Vermont here.
Checking Your EBT Balance in Vermont
Once your EBT money is gone, it’s gone. If you’re not careful, you can find yourself halfway through the month with an empty EBT account. So, it’s good to keep a close eye on your balance.
Checking your balance should be as simple as reviewing your latest receipt, from a payment you made with your EBT card. Alternatively, you can call the customer service number on the back of your EBT card.
You can also visit your online EBT account. Here’s how to do it:
- Step One: Start by visiting this website. This will take you to a login page, where you’ll need to enter your user ID and password. Once you’ve entered these details, you’ll be able to view your balance and other information.
- Step Two: If you’re having difficulty signing into your account, click the “trouble signing in” option below the login button. Then you’ll have the option of selecting your problem: forgot password, forgot user ID, or unlock a new user ID.
- Step Three: If you click the “forgot password” option, you’ll be prompted to enter some details, answer your prepared challenge questions, and then you can reset your password.
The Bottom Line
Using an EBT card is as simple as using a debit or credit card. EBT is a crucial part of life for many low-income families.
The benefits are reasonably flexible, allowing for many “luxury” foods. This means that you may be able to treat yourself and your household while buying all the nutritious food your family needs.
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