There’s a ton of EBT information out there, and keeping track of it all can be overwhelming. Our goal at Fresh EBT is to make it easier to manage your EBT benefits, so we’re breaking down all the basics in one handy guide.
If you have a general question that we haven’t answered here, let us know.
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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 New York EBT Card once you’re approved for benefits.
New York’s EBT customer service number is 1-888-328-6399.
For most New York households, that period is 6 - 12 months. Confirm the length of your certification period with your caseworker.
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 your benefits online with a myBenefits account.
If you’d rather renew in person, call your caseworker, local office, or the New York SNAP hotline (1-800-342-3009) to find out how.
New York sends out benefits over the first 9 days of every month, based on the last digit of your case number.
For NYC cases, benefits are sent out over 13 days that are not Sundays or holidays, during the first two weeks of each month.
Check the full schedule to find out which day you’ll get your food stamps.
You should report:
- If anyone moves in or out of your household.
- Financial changes like income, rent, savings, or child support.
- Work changes. Does your household include an adult who doesn’t have a disability or a child (what the government calls an ABAWD)? Is this person required to work or train 20 hours/week? Then you should report if this person starts working or training less than 20 hours/week.
Most households have to report all changes no more than 10 days after they happen, but some don’t. Your caseworker can confirm which rules apply to your household.
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 with a myBenefits account.
If you can’t find your EBT card, call the New York EBT hotline as soon as you can: 1-888-328-6399.
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.