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Why Did I Get Cash On My EBT Card Today?

Written by: Dulcie Akers
Last updated: February 22, 2024

EBT cardholders might receive unexpected cash due to changes in state policies or additional benefits issued under certain circumstances.


Cardholders should verify unexpected cash through official notifications, online EBT account access, or by contacting state SNAP customer service.


EBT cash benefits offer greater flexibility compared to SNAP benefits and can be used for a variety of necessities.[1]


Cash benefits can be withdrawn from ATMs and spent at various stores and for different services, subject to state-specific regulations.


Regular monitoring and management of EBT cash balances are vital for effective financial planning.


Generally, EBT cash benefits are not taxable, but consulting a tax professional for confirmation is advised.[2]


Non-citizens meeting certain criteria may be eligible for EBT cash benefits.

Receiving unexpected cash on an EBT card can be a surprise for recipients. Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards are designated for the disbursement of funds from programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). These programs typically provide benefits for purchasing food and meeting essential household needs; however, understanding the complexities of the EBT system can be challenging, especially when unexpected cash appears on your card. 

This blog post delves into the question, "Why Did I Get Cash On My EBT Card Today?" offering a comprehensive guide to understanding these surprise deposits. 

Why Did I Get Cash On My EBT Card Today?

EBT cardholders sometimes notice unexpected cash deposits on their cards, which are generally due to specific policy changes or benefits issued by their state. It's important to understand why these funds are available and how to verify the source.

How To Verify The Reason Yourself

To determine why cash benefits were added to an EBT card, cardholders should:

  1. Check Official Notifications: Look for any mail or email communications from the state's Department of Social Services or the agency that manages SNAP benefits. These communications might provide details regarding the deposit.

  2. Access Your EBT Account: Log in to the EBT account online or call the phone number provided on the back of the EBT card to check recent deposits and their descriptions.

  3. Contact Customer Service: If account information does not clarify the deposit, cardholders can reach out directly to their state's SNAP customer service for an explanation.

Fast Facts

Unlike SNAP benefits, which are strictly for purchasing food, EBT cash benefits can be used for a broader range of necessities.

Accessing And Using Cash Benefits

Cash benefits provided through the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system can be accessed and utilized for necessities such as food, childcare, and transportation.

How To Use Cash Benefits

To use EBT cash benefits, recipients must follow specific instructions. Funds can be withdrawn from an ATM using a Personal Identification Number (PIN). There can be fees associated with ATM withdrawals, so checking those details is recommended. Cash benefits can also be used directly at stores that accept EBT cards. It's important to differentiate between cash benefits and SNAP benefits, as only the former can be used like cash for a broader range of items and services.

Where To Use EBT Cash Benefits

EBT cash benefits can be employed at a wide array of stores and for numerous services.[1] These include but are not limited to:

  • Utility bills like home energy

  • Childcare services and related expenses

  • Transportation costs, such as gas or public transit fares

  • Employment-related expenses like job training

In New York City, legislation such as the Consolidated Appropriations Act might influence emergency allotments that assist seniors and families in difficult times. Recipients can purchase seeds, ingredients for meals, and other non-edible items such as household supplies and personal hygiene products.

Managing And Checking EBT Cash Balances

Balances can be managed and checked online or by phone. To review an EBT cash balance:

  1. Online: Visit the local family assistance or Office of the Administration for Children & Families website.

  2. Phone: Call the number on the back of the EBT card.

Recipients should regularly track balances to manage their living expenses efficiently and avoid potential debt. Gobankingrates and other financial resources suggest monitoring spending to recover financially during hard times.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any tax implications for the cash received on my EBT card?

Generally, EBT cash benefits are not considered taxable income.[2] However, consulting with a tax professional or referring to IRS guidelines for confirmation is always a good idea.

Can I save the cash benefits in my EBT account for future use?

Yes, you can save your EBT cash benefits in your account. However, be aware of any policies your state might have regarding the expiration of benefits or account inactivity.

Is there a limit to how much cash I can withdraw from an ATM using my EBT card?

ATM withdrawal limits vary by state and by the bank operating the ATM. Check with your state's EBT program or the ATM's terms for specific withdrawal limit information.

Receiving Cash On Your EBT Card

Understanding why you received cash on your EBT card today is crucial for effective financial management and maximizing your benefits. From verifying the source to knowing where and how to use the cash benefits, this guide provides the necessary insights and steps for EBT cardholders. Remember to stay informed about your state's policies and programs, monitor your balances, and utilize your benefits wisely to navigate challenging times more easily and confidently.

Our detailed guide explains how to use EBT at Wawa. Learn more by visiting Gov Relations and exploring our comprehensive resources.

Dulcie Akers
Dulcie Akers is the editor-in-chief of Gov Relations. She graduated top of her class with a bachelor’s degree in English from Thomas Edison State University. Before working for the company, Dulce worked for seven years at a Fortune 500 company. She currently manages the whole team with Imelda, ensuring every piece of content is relevant to retail, business, and services.

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