Gov-Relations Logo

Can I Use My EBT Card In Another State?

Written by: Robert Taylor
Last updated: January 30, 2024

EBT cards are accepted across all 50 states, which means beneficiaries can use their card for purchases in states other than where it was issued.[1]


The types of items you can purchase with an EBT card (under SNAP and TANF benefits) remain the same across states, adhering to the guidelines of the issuing program.[2]


For temporary visits to other states, there is no set time limit for EBT card use. However, in the case of a permanent move, beneficiaries must transfer their benefits to the new state.


Beneficiaries must report changes in circumstances, such as a permanent move to another state, to their state's welfare office to avoid penalties.


Beneficiaries can continue using their EBT card from the original state while waiting for the application in the new state to be processed.


Not reporting a permanent move can lead to suspension or termination of benefits and the potential requirement to repay benefits received fraudulently.

Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards are a lifeline for many individuals and families across the United States, providing essential assistance for purchasing food and other necessities. A common question among EBT cardholders is whether their card can be used in states other than where it was issued. 

This article delves into the details of using EBT cards across state lines, examining both temporary visits and permanent relocations.

Can I Use My EBT Card In Another State?

Yes, you can use your EBT card in another state in most cases. The Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system is interoperable across all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.[1] This means that if you have a SNAP EBT card issued in one state, it is generally accepted at retailers participating in the program in other states. This interoperability is a crucial aspect of the EBT system, ensuring that beneficiaries retain access to their benefits regardless of their location within the United States.

Visiting Another State

If you are traveling to another state temporarily, you can use your EBT card at any authorized retailer that accepts EBT payments. This includes grocery stores, supermarkets, and some farmers' markets. It's important to note that while your EBT card will work in other states, the types of items you can purchase remain subject to the rules of your home state's EBT program.

Finding Authorized Retailers

To locate retailers that accept EBT payments in another state, you can use the USDA's online retailer locator or mobile apps designed for EBT users. These tools provide a convenient way to find stores near your travel location where you can use your EBT card.

Moving To Another State

In the event of a permanent move to another state, you must close your EBT account in your current state and reapply for benefits in your new state of residence. This process involves contacting your current state's EBT office to report the move and then applying for EBT benefits in the new state. Each state has its eligibility criteria and application process, so it's crucial to gather this information beforehand.

Timeframe For Transfer And Continuity Of Benefits

The timeframe for transferring EBT benefits varies from state to state. It's essential to plan this transition to minimize any gap in benefits. Until your application is processed in your new state, you can continue using your current EBT card, but once your new application is approved, your old account will be deactivated.

Fast Facts

EBT cards are accepted at grocery stores, supermarkets, and approved farmers' markets nationwide for diverse food options.

What Can I Use My EBT Card For In Other States?

When you use your Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card in other states, the items you can purchase generally remain the same as in your home state. The EBT card is primarily used for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Here's a breakdown of what you can and cannot use your EBT card for in these programs, which is consistent across states:

SNAP Benefits (Commonly Known As Food Stamps)

With SNAP benefits, your EBT card allows you to buy food items, including:

  • Fruits and Vegetables: Fresh, frozen, or canned.
  • Meat, Poultry, and Fish: Including various cuts and some packaged seafood.
  • Dairy Products: Such as milk, cheese, and yogurt.
  • Breads and Cereals: Including whole grain options.
  • Snack Foods: Chips, cookies, and similar items.
  • Non-Alcoholic Beverages: Including juice, soda, and water.
  • Seeds and Plants: Which produce food for the household to eat.

What You Cannot Buy With SNAP Benefits:

  • Alcohol or tobacco products.
  • Vitamins, medicines, and supplements.
  • Foods that are hot at the point of sale.
  • Non-food items like pet foods, cleaning supplies, paper products, and other household supplies.
  • Personal care items like soap and shampoo.

TANF Benefits

If you receive TANF benefits on your EBT card, the usage can be more flexible and might include[2]:

  • Food and grocery items as listed under SNAP.
  • Clothing.
  • Household supplies.
  • Essential living expenses.
  • Sometimes even bill payments, depending on the state's rules.

Restrictions With TANF Benefits:

  • Like SNAP, you cannot use TANF benefits to purchase alcohol, tobacco, or non-essential items.
  • Some states may have additional restrictions on where and how TANF benefits can be used.

Fast Facts

Many states offer online applications and assistance for a smoother transition when EBT beneficiaries move to a new state.

Using Your EBT Card Across State Lines

Your EBT card offers significant flexibility, allowing you to access your benefits across state lines, whether for a short visit or a permanent move. Understanding how the EBT system works in different states is key to ensuring continuous access to your benefits and compliance with state regulations. By keeping informed and promptly reporting any changes in your situation, you can seamlessly manage your EBT benefits no matter where life takes you. Remember, each state has its own guidelines, and staying updated with these rules will help you maximize your EBT card's capabilities.

Our detailed guide explains whether Fresh Market takes EBT. Learn more by visiting Gov Relations and exploring our comprehensive resources.

Robert Taylor
Robert Taylor is a talented writer known for his ability to communicate complex social care and government benefit topics with clarity and empathy. With a background in sociology and a passion for advocating for marginalized populations, Robert has authored numerous articles, reports, and books on these critical subjects. His writing has helped individuals better understand their rights and options within the realm of government assistance, empowering them to navigate the system effectively. Robert's compelling storytelling and dedication to social justice have made him an influential voice in the field of social care and government benefits.

Comments are closed.

Gov-Relations Logo
Gov-Relations is where people may seek information on funding opportunities. With our help, we hope our readers are reducing paperwork and simplifying their grant application procedure. We provide data quality reviews, assistance, and informative articles to assist applicants in their journey to completing and submitting grant applications.
(949) 695-8823
17595 Harvard Ave. C2480-B Irvine, CA 92614
© 2024 Gov-Relations. All Rights Reserved.