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.
The ACCESS card is Pennsylvania’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 (also known as SNAP benefits) and/or cash benefits. You can use it at stores that accept EBT.
You’ll get the ACCESS card once you’re approved for benefits.
Pennsylvania’s EBT customer service number is 1-888-328-7366.
The easiest way to apply for food stamps is online. If you’d rather apply in person, call your local office or the Pennsylvania SNAP hotline (1-800-692-7462) to find out how.
You’ll have to renew your food stamps before your certification period (the amount of time you’ll get food stamps) ends. For most Pennsylvania households without elderly (60+) or disabled people, that period is 12 months. For most Pennsylvania 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 your benefits online or on the myCOMPASS PA app.
If you’d rather renew in person, call your caseworker, local office, or the Pennsylvania SNAP hotline (1-800-692-7462) to find out how.
Pennsylvania sends out food stamps over the first 10 business days of the month (excluding weekends and holidays), based on the last digit of your case record number. 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 on the myCOMPASS PA app.
If you can’t find your EBT card, call the Pennsylvania EBT hotline as soon as you can: 1-888-328-7366.
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.
Download Providers to see nearby stores and farmer’s markets that take EBT. You don’t need an account to use the map.
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.