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How to Use my SNAP Benefits EBT Card

How to Use my SNAP Benefits EBT Card

SNAP benefits are intended to reduce food insecurity and improve nutrition by providing food-purchasing assistance for low- and no-income individuals and families in New York. If you applied are got approved, you will receive an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. Read our other article if you want to learn about SNAP benefits and eligibility.

This card works like a debit card and can be used to purchase eligible food items at participating grocery stores, markets and some online retailers. Your EBT card is an essential tool for accessing your SNAP benefits in New York and it functions like a debit card. Here’s how it works:

Receiving the EBT Card

After your SNAP application is approved, you’ll receive an EBT card in the mail. This card functions like a debit card and you will need to activate your EBT card by calling the customer service number provided with the card and choosing a Personal Identification Number (PIN).

Using the EBT Card

The EBT card can be used at authorized retail stores, supermarkets, and farmer’s markets that accept SNAP across New York State. Select eligible food items and go to the checkout counter. Swipe your EBT card through the card reader, enter your PIN, and the amount will be deducted from your SNAP account.

Online Purchases – There are some participating online retailers, such as Amazon and Walmart, that accept SNAP benefits for online purchases. Shop for eligible food items online, select the EBT card payment option at checkout, and enter your card information and PIN.

Eligible Food Items

Your EBT card to is eligible for purchasing nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy products, bread, cereal and poultry. However, you can’t use it for non-food items, such as alcohol, tobacco, hot prepared foods or medicines. A more complete list is available on the USDA website.

Checking Your Balance:

After your most recent purchase, you’ll receive a receipt showing the amount deducted and your remaining balance. Other options for checking your balance include calling the number on the back of your EBT card or logging in to you EBT account manager online to view your balance and transaction history.

Security Tips

  • PIN Safety: Make sure to keep your PIN confidential and do not share it with anyone.
  • Lost or Stolen Card: Report a lost or stolen card immediately to customer service to prevent unauthorized use. A replacement card will be issued.

Additional Programs

  • Double Up Food Bucks – Some farmer’s markets and stores offer programs to match SNAP benefits, doubling the purchasing power for fresh fruits and vegetables.

For more information, you can visit the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) website.

Maintaining Eligibility

Remember to report any changes in income or household size to the NYC Human Resources Administration. You may need to complete periodic recertification to keep receiving benefits. If you have questions about your EBT card or need help, contact your local Department of Social Services or visit for more information.