Ask Sawal

Discussion Forum
Notification Icon1
Write Answer Icon
Add Question Icon

Why did i stop getting ebt?

3 Answer(s) Available
Answer # 1 #

But as other federal aid programs, such as expanded unemployment benefits, have expired, some are left wondering if emergency supplemental benefits they’ve received will expire, too. They fall under the same expiration rules as regular SNAP benefits—which means that yes, they can expire—but it depends on how active you are with your benefits in the first place.

Information about SNAP benefits varies by state, and information about the program is not always clear. Consumers that rely on SNAP benefits have obvious anxiety around keeping them; New York’s SNAP Covid-19 information page lists “Do I have to use my emergency SNAP supplemental benefits right away?” as a frequently asked question. Forbes Advisor has also received emails from readers sharing the same worries.

Here are answers to some common questions about SNAP benefits.

Not at first. Unused SNAP benefits from the month automatically roll over to the next month.

If you don’t use your benefits for an extended period of time, though, you risk losing them for good. Generally, most SNAP benefits expire after nine months of not using your EBT card at all. (If you don’t use your EBT card at all for three months, you’ll lose access to your benefits: more on that below).

The benefits are then expunged from your account on a month-to-month basis, depending on the date you received them. For example, if you received benefits in October 2020, they would expire in July 2021.

It’s important to note that benefits will only be expunged if you don’t use your benefits at all during this time period. Households that regularly use their benefits, but carry over a balance, won’t lose them after nine months.

Before they remove your benefits, states are required to notify households no later than 30 days prior to the date that they will be removed. Be sure to have your mailing address up-to-date with your state’s SNAP agency.

Check with your local SNAP agency for more information about how long you will have access to benefits if you don’t regularly use them.


There’s confusion around the emergency supplemental benefits period expiring (as of now, there’s no end date), and what that means for your benefits. The period expiring simply means you will no longer receive the supplemental portion of your benefits; you will continue to receive your regular SNAP benefits.

That also doesn’t mean that the government will come in and take back unused emergency supplemental benefits you may have racked up during the pandemic. The usual revocation rules for SNAP benefits will apply to the supplemental benefits; if you don’t use your EBT card, they will eventually be revoked.

SNAP benefits are loaded onto an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card each month. Generally, if you don’t use your EBT card for three months, it will be taken offline, and your access to the account will be revoked, meaning you can’t use it until you contact your local benefits office to get it reinstated.

The inactivity period can differ by state, and your access can be revoked sooner or later than three months. Massachusetts, for example, suspends EBT cards after six months of inactivity. In Washington state, EBT accounts are inactive when a transaction has not occurred for at least 60 days.

State SNAP agencies are required to send written notification to you up to 10 days prior to your benefits being suspended. The letter will include information on what steps you can take to bring your benefits back online.

This letter will be sent to your last known mailing address—so be sure to keep this information up-to-date with your local SNAP agency.

If your card is suspended because you didn’t use it, you should contact your local SNAP agency to have your access reinstated.

If you lose your card, contact your state’s EBT customer service line immediately to have it replaced. Some states charge replacement fees, which will come out of your balance; New Jersey, for example, offers two free replacement cards but then charges a $2 replacement fee for each card thereafter.

According to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, EBT cards don’t have guaranteed protections under federal law against loss or theft of your card or funds. That means if your card falls into the wrong hands that figure out how to access your funds, it could be impossible to reclaim them. Report a lost or stolen card right away.

SNAP benefits were expanded with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020, which allowed states to issue “emergency allotments” due to the public health emergency of Covid-19. As of April 2021, all households receiving SNAP benefits received at least $95 in supplemental emergency allotment SNAP benefits per month.

Answer # 2 #

Electronic Benefit Transfer is an on-line system in which food stamp and cash assistance benefits are stored in a central computer database and electronically accessed by customers at a point-of-sale machine via reusable plastic cards. In Tennessee, these EBT cards are called Benefit Security Cards.

Tennessee ’s EBT program began in November 1998 with a pilot project involving four counties. The program was then implemented over a period of several months, with full implementation of EBT completed in August 1999. There are many advantages to Tennessee having an EBT system. Food coupons and paper checks are no longer issued and accounted for on a monthly basis. The EBT issuance process is streamlined, safe, and convenient. Other advantages of the EBT process include the following:

Allowing the DHS offices to expedite services and changes Eliminating customers' monthly trips to the office or waiting on the postman Automating the delivery process Helping to eliminate fraud and misuse of benefits Saving taxpayers' money.

VIDEO: Your Tennessee EBT Card

English version


Español version


EBT Customer Service : 1-888-997-9444 EBT Merchant Service: 1-844-893-3125

VK Infuhr
Obstetrical Nursing
Answer # 3 #

SNAP recipients nationwide will stop getting pandemic-era boosts after this month's payments, the Food and Nutrition Service announced.

The emergency allotments provided an additional $95 or the maximum amount for their household size — whichever was greater.

"SNAP emergency allotments were a temporary strategy authorized by Congress to help low-income individuals and families deal with the hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic," the announcement explained. They're ending now because of Congressional action.

Thirty-two states plus D.C., Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands are still providing the boost; there, benefits will return to pre-pandemic levels in March. In South Carolina, benefits return to normal this month. Emergency allotments had already ended everywhere else.

Nearly half of the households that use SNAP also receive Social Security, and Social Security is the most common source of income for SNAP households. Most of those households should expect to see further reductions in their SNAP benefits by March.

That's because of a dramatic cost of living increase in Social Security, which went into effect last month. Some Social Security households may lose their SNAP eligibility altogether.

Rashida Haddish
Neurosurgical Nursing