Using Your EBT Card To Get Food Supplement

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How Do I Get To My Food Supplements?

You will get a card that looks like a credit or debit card.  It is called a Pine Tree card.

Where Can I Use My EBT Card? 

You use your EBT card whenever you buy food at grocery stores and most convenience stores.  Look for the Quest sign on the door or window of the store.

Do I Need a Special Number or Code to Use the Card?

The EBT card works the same as a Debit card that many people have to get money from their checking or savings accounts.  To use the card you must use a four digit Personal Identification Number.  This is your PIN.

A couple days after you get your EBT card you will get an envelope with your PIN.  The PIN has been randomly chosen for you.  It is important to memorize your PIN or keep it written in a place separate from your EBT card so that no one else can use your card.

Can I Change My PIN?

You can change your PIN to a number that you choose.  To do so, just call Customer Service at 1-800-477-7428.  You will need your 19 number card.  You can change your PIN to a number that has meaning to you so that it is easier to remember.  If you enter your PIN four times incorrectly, your card will stop working until the next day.

How Exactly Do I Use My Card?

To buy something, you or the store clerk will swipe your card through a machine.  You will then enter your secret PIN.  Do not tell your PIN to the clerk!  The store clerk will give you a keypad to enter the number yourself.

If a store does not have an EBT machine, or if the machine is not working, they may use a paper voucher. Also, many Farmers Markets will accept your EBT card.  If they do not have a machine, they can use a paper voucher.  When using a paper voucher, you will not need to use your PIN.  You will need to sign your name on the paper voucher.  Be sure you do not tell the clerk you’re PIN.  Do Not write your PIN on the paper voucher!

How will I know how much I have in my Food Supplement Account?

Every time you buy something, you will get a receipt showing how much is left in your account.  The card will not allow you use more Food Supplements than you have in your account.

You can also find out how much is in your account by calling Customer Service at 1-800-477-7428.  This is a toll free call.  You will get a recording when you call, and you will be able to use your touch-tone phone or voice commands to select different options.  You will be able to get the information you want without speaking to a live person.  However, live Customer Service representatives staff this phone line 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  If you need to speak to a live person, you will be able to do so.

When Will My Card Work?

Your Food Supplements will be available at 12:01 a.m. sometime between the 10th and 14th of the month, depending on your date of birth.  Once your Food Supplement day is set, it will always be the same date each month.

The only time you will get mail about your Food Stamp amounts will be after recertification or when your benefit amounts change.

Does It Cost Me Anything To Use My EBT Card?

There is never a cost to use your EBT card for Food Supplement purchases.  However, remember you can only buy allowable food items with your Food Stamp benefits.  You cannot get cash back from your Food Supplement account.

What If My EBT Card Is Lost Or Stolen?

If you lose your EBT card, you can get it replaced by calling the Customer Service line at 1-800-477-7428.  You will need to give them your date of birth and the last four digits of your Social Security number.  Your new EBT card will be mailed out the next business day.  You get your original card plus one free replacement per year.  After that there may be a fee of between $1.00 and $5.00 to get your card replaced.

If your EBT card is stolen, call Customer Service and they can put a freeze on your account, send you a new card and you can change your PIN. That way, if someone tries to use your card, your old PIN will not work.

Do I have to have my picture taken for my EBT Card?

NO.  You do not have to have your picture taken.  You will not lose your Food Supplement benefits if you refuse to have your picture taken.  The photo is “optional”; if you do not want your picture taken you can say “no.”

DHHS should not even ask you to have your picture taken if you are in a household headed by:

  • a person over age 60;
  • a person with a disability; OR
  • a victim of domestic violence

Do I Have To Have A Face-To-Face Interview At The DHHS Office For My Food Supplement Review?

Yes, unless you are not able to get to the DHHS office.  If you are not able to get to a DHHS office for your review you may qualify for a “hardship” waiver.  This would allow you to do a telephone interview.  DHHS must tell you that you have the right to a telephone interview if you cannot travel to a local office because you have a “hardship”.

Hardships include:

  • Illness;
  • transportation difficulties;
  • the need to care for a household member;
  • you live in a rural area and that makes it hard (or expensive) to get to a local office; OR
  • your work or education or training schedule prevents you from getting to a local office while the office is open.

If you are not able to come in for a face to face interview, tell DHHS that you want a “hardship waiver.”

If My Picture Is On My EBT Card, Can Any Household Member Still Use The Card To Shop?

YES.  Any household member (or any other “authorized representative”) can still use your family’s EBT card if they have your PIN number.  DHHS will let you put photos of up to two household members on your EBT card.  However, even if a household member’s photo (or authorized representative’s phot) is not on the card, that person can still use the card.

Will Anything Change When I Start To Use My Photo EBT Card At The Grocery Store?

NO, nothing should change.  When you go to the store to buy food, the store must allow you or your representative to use your card, even if the picture on the card does not match you or your representative.

You must be treated the same as any other customer at the store.  This means that a store cannot ask to look at your card unless they also ask to look at every other customer’s credit, debit or EBT card.

When to Call DHHS Customer Service

Customer Service is available toll free 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 1-800-477-7428.  They can answer any questions you may have about how to get your benefits.  The customer service number is first answered by a computer.  You will be asked to enter your 19 number card number.  If you do not have a touch-tone phone, you can speak with a live person.  If your card has been lost or stolen and you don't know your card number, you will be given directions on what to do.

Call Customer Service if:

  • You have questions or problems using your EBT card or PIN
  • You want to change your PIN
  • Your card is lost or stolen
  • You think there is a mistake with a transaction You want to know your Food Supplement account balance
  • You want a list of your last ten transactions

Who Can Help Me If I am Having Problems with My Food Supplement Benefit?

You can contact:

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