What are EBT/Food Stamps?

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What are EBT/Food Stamps?
EBT/food stamps refer to Electronic Benefit Transfer – food stamps. This is a benefit given by the government to US citizens who may be unable to buy their own food. Under the SNAP or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, people living in poverty can avail of the “food stamps” benefit and get free food.

The system works through EBT or Electronic Benefit Transfer, wherein people are assigned their own account and SNAP card (formerly known as food stamps). Every month, SNAP cards will be credited with food stamp benefits through EBT which is much like a bank account transfer of funds. These EBT cards with corresponding monetary values can be used in grocery stores, convenience outlets, marketplaces, and other food stores.

People from all walks of life may get food stamps or SNAP cards. Eligibility to get this benefit usually considers family size, family income and expenses, and citizenship status. Those who can easily avail of this benefit are the homeless, large families, people living alone, and those that do not earn regular income. But people who may have regular income may also apply for the SNAP card and get the food stamps benefits.

In terms of household income, a pre-determined minimum and maximum amount is already in place for the computations used in applying for a SNAP card. But other than income, family expenses are also given considerations and included in the overall assessment. There are also different computations for families with children below 19 years of age and for those living with the elderly (over 60 years old) and those with disabled family members.

The EBT/food stamps or SNAP cards are used in all 50 states across the US. This benefit is also available to people living in Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Using the SNAP card is basically the same as purchasing items through credit or debit cards. The only major difference is that EBT card users will need to enter a PIN code after card-swiping on a machine for authenticity of use. There is also no cost involved in terms of using the card on any store. A SNAP cardholder may use his/her card anytime and any day.

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