Keeping track of all the EBT information out there can be overwhelming. So, we’ve broken down all the basics in one handy guide.
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The Golden State Advantage card is California’s EBT card.
EBT = electronic benefits transfer.
EBT card = a card that looks and works like a debit or credit card but is loaded with food stamps and/or cash benefits. You can use it at stores that accept EBT.
You’ll get the Golden State Advantage card once you’re approved for benefits.
California’s EBT customer service number is 1-877-328-9677.
For most California households without elderly (60+) or disabled people, that period is 12 months. For most California households with elderly (60+) or disabled people, that period is 24 months.
You’ll get a letter in the mail when it’s time to reapply. To be safe, you could also put a note in your calendar or wherever you keep important reminders.
You can renew online in some counties, while others require that you turn in this form.
To find out the easiest way to renew in your county, call your caseworker, local office, or the California SNAP hotline: 1-877-847-3663.
Most households only have to report these changes twice a year (at the halfway point and when you reapply):
- When someone moves in or out of your household.
- Financial changes like income, rent, savings, or child support.
Most households should report these 2 changes no more than 10 days after they happen:
- When your household income goes over the monthly income limit. This could be because someone starts making more money or someone with income moves in.
- When an adult without a disability or a child (what the government calls an ABAWD) who was working or training 20 hours/week starts working or training less.
If you are moving, you should report your new address ASAP to make sure you don’t miss any important letters.
You can report changes online by creating an account. Go to BenefitsCal.org to find the right site for your county.
If you can’t find your EBT card, call the California EBT hotline as soon as you can: 1-877-328-9677.
If someone manages to use your card, you may not be able to get those benefits back, so make sure you call right away!
You can use food stamps to buy groceries, snacks, and seeds or plants that will produce food.
You can’t use food stamps to buy alcohol, tobacco products, vitamins, live animals, prepared foods, or any non-food household items.
WIC food packages typically include cereal, juice, eggs, milk, peanut butter, dried and canned beans, tofu, fruits and vegetables, and whole-wheat bread. WIC packages also include canned fish and cheese for breastfeeding moms, and baby food for babies.
Once your child is born, your household size will increase. More household members = more benefits.
While you are pregnant, you can’t get more food stamps, but you can apply for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) benefits.
WIC provides food and resources for pregnant women, new parents, and children up to 5 years old.
If you have a child who’s 18 or younger, you may qualify for cash assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
TANF provides monthly cash assistance to help families with children get by during tough times.