Keeping track of all the EBT information out there can be overwhelming. So, we’ve broken down all the basics in one handy guide.
If you have a question that we haven’t answered here, let us know.
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 Iowa EBT Card once you’re approved for benefits.
Iowa’s EBT customer service number is 1-800-359-5802.
You’ll have to renew your food stamps before your certification period (the amount of time you’ll get food stamps) ends. For most Iowa 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.
To find out the easiest way to renew in your county, call your caseworker, local office, or the Iowa SNAP hotline: 1-877-347-5678.
Most households only have to report the following two changes twice a year (at the halfway point and when you recertify):
- When someone moves in or out of your household.
- Financial changes like income, rent, savings, or child support.
Most households need to report the following three 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.
- The receipt of substantial lottery or gambling winnings. If you are moving, you should report your new address ASAP to make sure you don’t miss any important letters.
To report changes, call your caseworker or the Iowa SNAP hotline: 1-877-347-5678.
If you can’t find your EBT card, call the Iowa EBT hotline as soon as you can: 1-800-359-5802.
If someone manages to use your card, you won’t 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.
Yes! Your EBT card can get you and your family discounted or free admission to museums, theme parks, zoos, aquariums, and more.
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.
Check out this benefit finder tool and find out.