DSS: How to Access Cash and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Benefits

How to Access Cash and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Benefits

Electronic Benefit Transfer: How to use your EBT Card

All Food Stamps & Most Cash Benefits Are Distributed By EBT

Welcome to EBT! Your food stamp benefits and/or cash assistance benefits are kept in special accounts for you until you want to use them. The following information tells you how.
  For an Adobe Acrobat brochure, click here.


How to Use Your Card at the Store 

  1. Before you shop, check your last receipt to find out how much money is in your account, or call 1-888-328-2666 for your balance

  2. Look for the Quest® mark on the door or the window of the store.

  3. At check-out, your card is swiped

  4. Enter your secret PIN on the number pad, then press Enter.

  5. Tell the clerk how much money to enter or enter the amount yourself. Remember, you can only buy eligible food items with your food benefits.

  6. Always check your receipt to make sure that the amount on the EBT receipt is the same as the grocery receipt.


To Get Cash at the Store 

  1. Get your balance by looking at your receipt, or call 1-888-328-2666.

  2. Look for the Quest® mark.

  3. Your card is swiped.

  4. Enter your secret PIN on the number pad, then press Enter.

  5. Tell the clerk how much money to enter or enter the amount yourself.

  6. Check to make sure the amount on the receipt is the same as the amount of cash you received.


How to Use Your EBT Card at a Cash Machine (ATM)

  1. Always follow directions on the ATM.

  2. Enter your secret PIN.

  3. Press Withdrawal.

  4. Press Checking.

  5. Enter the dollar amount you want.

  6. Take your cash from the machine.

  7. Wait for your card and receipt.

  8. Check the receipt to make sure it is the same as the amount you got.

  9. DO NOT count your money at the machine.

Keep the receipt so you will know how much you have left in your account.


Safety First

  • Have your card ready.

  • Choose a well lit ATM in a place where you feel safe.

  • Never let anyone see you enter your secret PIN.

  • Put your cash, card and receipt away quickly.


How to Take Care of Your EBT Card 

  • Keep your card in a safe place when you are not using it.

  • Never write your secret PIN on your card.

  • Do not damage or bend your card.

  • Do not write on or scratch the black stripe on the back of your card.

  • Do not put your card near magnets, TVs, stereos, VCRs, or even the magnetic clasp on a purse.


Benefit Availability 

  • EBT will not change your benefit amount

  • You will receive your benefits on the same day every month.

  • Based on the first letter of your last name, you will receive your benefit(s) on the following dates:


    G-N 2nd
    O-Z 3rd

  • If you are currently receiving your cash benefits by Direct Deposit, you may continue to do so. You will be required to use your EBT card to access your Food Stamp account only.
  • When you receive your account balance(s) and the amount is higher or lower than you expect, you may call 1-888-328-2666 and obtain your last ten(10) transactions on your account.
Legal Notice 
  • Misuse or abuse of your card will result in investigation by State and/or Federal authorities. Documented violations will result in sanctions including:
    • Disqualification from program
    • Recovery through recoupment/restitution
    • And/or referral for Criminal prosecution
  • It is a crime to defraud the system or to sell your card and PIN to others! Repeated loss and replacement of your card may result in a special investigation of your case.

What to Do If The System is Not Working or The Store Does Not Have a Card Reader 

The clerk may fill out a manual voucher, for food stamp purchases only. This voucher will list:
  • Your card number.
  • The amount of your purchase.

After the clerk fills in the voucher, the clerk will call to see if you have enough benefits to buy the food. Before you sign, make sure the amount on the voucher is correct. If it is, sign the voucher, and you will be given a copy of the voucher. Keep this voucher so you can subtract this amount from your balance. This will give you the correct amount in your account. It may take a few days for the amount to be subtracted from your account. 

Your PIN 

PIN stands for Personal Identification Number.

  • Your secret PIN is your electronic signature. It is the key that unlocks your benefit accounts.
  • To use your EBT card, you must enter your 4 number secret PIN into the machine.
  • Keep your PIN a secret.
  • Never write your secret PIN on your card.
  • Never let anyone see you enter your secret PIN at a machine, even a store clerk.
  • Never give anyone your card or secret PIN. If a person has your card and knows your secret PIN, they can use ALL of your benefits.
  • If someone else uses your secret PIN and card, your BENEFITS WILL NOT BE REPLACED.


Words to Know:

EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) The way you will get your food benefits and/or cash benefits.
POS Machine (Point of Sale Machine) This machine reads your EBT card so you can buy food with your food stamp benefits and other items with your cash benefits. This can also be called a card reader machine.
Cash Machine or ATM
(Automated Teller Machine)
A machine found at banks and stores where you get your cash benefits.
PIN (Personal Identification Number) This four number code must be used with your EBT card. It is very important to keep this code a secret.

When to Call Customer Service 

1-888-328-2666 This is a free call.

Customer Service is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer any questions you may have about how to get your benefits. The customer service number is first answered by a computer. You will be asked questions to help direct your call.

Call to find out:

  • Where you can use your card.
  • Your food stamp account balance.
  • Your cash account balance.

Call if:

  • You have questions or problems using your EBT card or secret PIN.
  • Your card is lost or stolen. You must report this immediately.
  • Your card does not work.
Your EBT Card 
  • Take care of your EBT Card
  • Keep your card in a safe place
  • Save your receipts to check your balances
  • Call before you go shopping to get your account balances
  • Call right away if your card is lost or stolen
  • Call your caseworker for a replacement card.
  • If you move, contact your caseworker immediately

You can access your EBT account via the Internet.
Once you establish a web account you will be able to:
• check your balances
• change your PIN
• contact customer service
Did you know that most banks and financial institutions in CT do not charge the usual ATM surcharge?  This means that the first two transactions each month, conducted at a bank or credit union are FREE. ATM’s located at convenience stores, however, usually charge fees of $1 to $3!