An efficient government recognizes its role in aiding citizens with their essential everyday needs. In order to streamline this process, the policymakers formulate several programs that facilitate the effective distribution of resources. 

The Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card is a novel procedure devised by the government of the US to systematically provide assistance to the citizens. Through the EBT Card, the government aims to bridge the gap in essential supplies. 


Highlighted below are the important details related to the online application procedure and the perquisites that you need to qualify for eligibility. However, the procedures may vary from state to state. Read on to learn more about the EBT card.

EBT Card - Discover How to Apply Online

About the EBT Card

First introduced in 2004, an EBT card is quite similar to a debit card in terms of its functionalities. All recipients of government assistance who possess this card can pay the retailers directly for their purchases. 


The EBT card is especially used to make payments through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) across all 50 states of the US. 

Additionally, it is also used to derive economic assistance through Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) or Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children (EAEDC).

Benefits of the Card

You will receive the benefits on the same day every month based on the last digit of your Social Security number. Moreover, cash benefits will be deposited directly if you have provided your bank account details.


All food items except alcoholic beverages and prepared meals that are ready to eat and sold hot can be purchased through SNAP benefits. Additionally, you can also use these benefits to invest in seeds or plants for growing your own food.

Similarly, you can pay your bills, rent, purchase utility products and services, and even money orders through the economic benefits. However, these cannot be used to purchase alcoholic beverages, firearms and ammunition, lottery tickets, and other items.

Application Procedure

Depending upon the nature of the assistance that you require, you can apply for the EBT card through one of these two ways. Before you initiate your application process, it is suggested that you go through the guidelines issued by your state authority.

For Food Assistance

You can initiate your online application process by visiting the EBT website of your state. There, you will find an application link, clicking on which will lead you to your form. 

Fill in your personal details, including your Social Security number, date of birth, home address, and details of your income and expenditures. 

After you submit your application, a formal interview overcall would be conducted in order to verify the provided information. Within 30 days, you will receive a notification from the local office, informing you of your acceptance.

For Economic Assistance

The EBT card for economic assistance is issued by the Department of Transitional Assistance. However, the application process is completely offline and you will have to visit your local office in person to initiate the process. 

The documents required for the application process are quite similar to that of food assistance. You will have to provide your personal and financial details. However, you might have to visit the local office for the interview instead of an on-call interview. 

Photo Requirement

Additionally, you have to check with your local office regarding the requirement of a photograph for your EBT card. However, there are certain cases wherein the applicant is exempted from providing a photograph. 

You are exempted if you are 18 years old or under, 60 years old or over, blind, disabled, homeless, a victim of domestic violence, prevented by your religious beliefs, or if you are getting benefits for someone else, but not yourself.

How to Use the EBT Card

The EBT card bridges the gap between the DTA and the general public in terms of the distribution of essentials. You can access the EBT card after you qualify for food assistance through SNAP, or for economic assistance through TAFDC or EAEDC.

Thereafter, you will receive a plastic payment card with a magnetic strip and a unique PIN. However, the benefits of your card can be derived by anyone who knows your PIN. 

The Takeaway

The EBT card aims to ensure a formalized structure of the distribution of essentials to those who need it. If you think that you are eligible for qualification, you can contact your local EBT office for further details.