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The Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card is how DTA delivers its core services: food and economic assistance. Once you qualify for food benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and/or economic assistance through Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) or Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children (EAEDC), you can access them using an EBT card. It looks and works like a debit card. We keep your benefits in a special account for you until you want to use them. Your EBT card "talks" to the account to let you get and spend your benefit dollars in an easy, secure way. This guide tells you how.
During the process of applying for SNAP benefits or applying for economic assistance, you will be issued an EBT card as soon as you:
You can receive your card in 2 different ways:
in the mail:
Unless you have an interview in person, you will be sent a card in the mail. A secret Personal Identification Number (PIN) will arrive separately from your card. It may take 7-10 business days for your EBT card and PIN to arrive. Call EBT Customer Service at 1-800-997-2555 if you want to change the PIN to one that you would prefer. If you can't wait for a card to be sent in the mail, go to a DTA office to have one printed for you.
You apply for economic assistance in person. That is also one of the ways you can apply for SNAP benefits. If you apply in person, you will get an EBT card and choose your PIN before you leave the office.
Massachusetts law requires the use of photo identification on the front of each EBT card. We will use the photo from your driver's license or other state-issued ID. If you don't have one, we will schedule a time for you to go to a DTA office to take a photo. You can still get a card and benefits while waiting to take your picture. You aren't subject to photo EBT requirements if you are:
Even though your EBT card may have your photo on it, other household members who are receiving benefits as part of your case can use the card as long as they know your PIN.
If you want someone else to have an EBT card to use your benefits to shop for you, you may choose someone to be your authorized representative.
You designate this person to shop for you with your SNAP benefits. An EBT card is issued in this person's name.
You designate this person to get cash or shop for you with your economic assistance benefits. An EBT card is issued in this person's name.
You designate this agency to have a person shop for you with your SNAP benefits. An EBT card is issued in the name of the agency s/he works for.
Benefits will load onto your EBT card on the same day(s) every month when your case is active based on the last number of your SSN:
If you have a bank account, you may get your cash benefits by Direct Deposit on these dates and use your EBT card to get your SNAP benefits only.
Anywhere that displays this Quest® logo:
Anywhere that displays this Quest® logo:
with SNAP benefits:
You can buy any food item except alcohol or prepared meals sold hot and ready to eat. You can even buy seeds or plants for growing food. Find out more about eligible food items.
with cash benefits:
Anything you need, except:
You can even pay your rent or utility bills, purchase money orders, and buy food.
The Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) credits a dollar-for-dollar match back to your EBT card instantly when you use SNAP benefits to buy local fruits and vegetables at participating:
You can earn up to the HIP monthly cap based on your household size.
If a store displaying the Quest® logo does not have a working EBT machine:
- your card number; and
- your purchase amount.
You can withdraw cash from stores displaying the Quest® decal with the dollar sign ($). There are no fees. You don't need to make a purchase. Simply:
Find an ATM with the NYCE logo or Quest® logo with the dollar sign ($) but there may be fees. Simply:
Combine your purchase at a store with cashback service. There are no fees. Look for the Quest® decal with the dollar sign ($) and:
If you have your cash benefits deposited automatically in a checking or savings account, you can use your ATM card like an EBT card and may not have to pay fees for ATM withdrawals at that bank or other banks within that ATM network. Complete a Direct Deposit form and send the form to DTA to request direct deposit.
Visit the BasicBanking.org website for information on no- and low-cost checking and savings accounts.
There is no fee when you use your EBT card in a store to:
Some stores will allow a cash withdrawal without a purchase. Some stores will let you get cash back above the cost of your purchase. Check with the store for the withdrawal rules and the maximum cashback amount.
It costs you 75 cents each time you make 3 or more EBT cash withdrawals in a month from an ATM. To save money, try to make only 2 withdrawals each month. Some banks charge another fee just for using their ATM. You will not pay the bank fee if you withdraw your cash benefits from an ATM owned by:
Other ATM owners may also offer free EBT cash withdrawals. Always check the fee notices at the ATM before making a withdrawal.
No matter who operates the ATM, you will still pay the 75-cent fee if it is your third or more withdrawal in the month.
There are no fees for ATM balance inquiries.
Keep track of the money left on your EBT card so you know the balance before you shop. Check your balance by:
EBT cards create an electronic record of every purchase. If your balance is lower than you expected, you can call 1-800-997- 2555 to get the last 10 transactions to help you track your spending.
Your EBT card is good for as long as you get SNAP or cash benefits. You can use the same card for years even if your case closes and reopens. To care for it:
If your card is lost, stolen or damaged call EBT Customer Service at 1-800-997-2555 right away.
DTA will mail you a replacement. The PIN for your replacement card does not have to be the same as your old one. If you want a new one, it’ll be sent in the mail separately to your card. Your replacement card and PIN will arrive within 7-10 business days.
If you need to get your replacement card sooner, stop by a DTA office to have one printed for you.
We can replace your card, but not any benefits taken from it. If any benefits were left on your old card they will automatically transfer to your new replacement card.
It costs $5 to replace an EBT card. The $5 fee will be taken from your benefits. If you have no benefits available, DTA will take the fee from you later. There's no $5 fee if:
If you get 4 or more replacement EBT cards within 12 months you must talk with DTA before getting a new card. Based on this discussion, DTA may investigate to ensure that there is no fraud. Selling your card or your benefits is illegal and can result in disqualifying you from benefits.
PIN stands for Personal Identification Number. To use your EBT card, you must enter your 4 number secret PIN into the machine. It is the key that unlocks your benefit accounts. For this reason:
You must pay DTA back the amount of the items or services.
You must pay DTA back the amount of the items or services AND you will lose your cash assistance for two months.
You must pay DTA back the amount of the items or services AND you will lose cash assistance permanently.
The EBT Card to Culture program provides discounted admissions to various museums and other educational and cultural institutions. As an EBT cardholder, you can get reduced or free admission by showing your card at any of the participating organizations.
If you don't use your cash benefits for 90 days, they expire.
If you don't use your SNAP benefits for:
In certain circumstances expired cash benefits can be replaced if you request a restoration within 6 months of the date the cash benefits expired. 6 months after the expiration date, the cash benefits are permanently unavailable and cannot be restored.
Call your case manager or go to a DTA office to request to restore your expired cash benefits.
While you always have the right to request restoration of expired SNAP benefits, expired SNAP benefits cannot be restored unless they expired in error (e.g., prior to 365 days).
Call 1-877-382-2363 or got to a DTA office to request to restore your expired SNAP benefits.
Call EBT Customer Service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-997-2555 if:
This is a free call.