You can use your EBT card like a debit card at most stores that sell food.
- Once the cashier has totaled the cost of your groceries, you will pass your EBT card through a point-of-sale (POS) machine in the checkout line and enter your PIN.
- The cost of the items you buy will be subtracted from the amount in your food stamp EBT account.
- Once the sale is complete, you will receive a receipt that shows the amount of your purchase and the amount of money that is left in your EBT account.
- You should keep these receipts so you know how much of the food stamp money remains in your EBT account each time you go to the store.
- You should also keep these receipts as your record of food stamp purchases in case there are problems or questions with your account.
If you know you will need someone to buy your groceries for you because you are ill, because you have no way to get to the store, or for any other reason, ask your local eligibility specialist to explain how you can name a person you trust as your authorized representative.
What You Can Buy with Food Stamps
Food stamp benefits can only be used for food and for plants and seeds to grow food for your household to eat.
Sales tax cannot be charged on items bought with food stamp benefits. Food stamp benefits cannot be used to buy:
- Any nonfood item, such as pet foods; soaps, paper products, and supplies to maintain your house; grooming items such as shampoo and deodorant, toothpaste, and cosmetics
- Alcoholic drinks and tobacco
- Vitamins and medicines
- Ready to eat hot foods in other than authorized facilities