What is Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT)?
EBT is an electronic system that allows a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participant to pay for food using SNAP benefits.
When a participant shops at a SNAP authorized EBT store, their SNAP EBT account is debited to reimburse the store for food that was purchased.
EBT has been the sole method of SNAP issuance in all states since June of 2004.
What is Pandemic EBT (P-EBT)?
P-EBT is part of the U.S. government response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and was established by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
P-EBT provides benefits – very similar to SNAP benefits -- to children that would have received free or reduced price school meals.
EBT Store food categories:
- 1. Vegetables or fruits
- 2. Dairy products
- 3. Meat, poultry, or fish
- 4. Breads or cereals
EBT Store Eligibility Requirements
SNAP authorized stores must meet one of two staple food requirements:
Staple foods are the basic foods that make up a significant portion of a person’s diet. They are usually prepared at home and eaten as a meal. They do not include prepared foods, heated foods, or accessory foods.
Criterion A - Stocking Requirement
A store must have 3 stocking units of 3 different varieties for each staple food category on a continuous basis. For 2 staple food categories, there must be at least 1 perishable variety.
36 food stocking units are required to meet Criterian A. Most stores are authorized under Criterion A.
Criterion B - Sales
A store must have more than 50 percent of its total gross retail sales from the sale of staple foods. Specialty stores, like butcher shops, are often authorized under Criterion B.
Food You Can Buy With EBT Card
If you have the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, you can buy the food you need at any of the listed retailers in Illinois Food Stamps Stores table
Each US state offers EBT benefits cards, including the . The State EBT card can be used in the local food stamps authorized retailers.
Here is a list of the food you can buy for at the Food Stamps retail stores that accept the EBT card:
- Breakfast cereal
- Meats and poultry
- Fruit and vegetables
- Pasta, rice, and tortillas
- Canned legumes and fish
- Whole wheat bread and other whole grains
- Juice (shelf-stable, non-carbonated)
- Tofu and soy products
- Peanut butter
Stores that accept EBT Card(SNAP)
There 248,000 stores that accept EBT Cards across the U.S. They range from small convenience stores to major grocery chains and superstores like Walmart.
SNAP has even expanded its benefits to farmers markets, where you can buy fresh, healthy produce that’s locally grown.
Nationwide, more than 80% of SNAP benefits are used at larger retailers.
SNAP benefits are widely accepted for eligible food items at various EBT stores:
Click on the states listed below that are currently participating in the SNAP Benefits programs to see the participating EBT Stores:
FAQ(Frequently Asked Questions)
1. What is the difference between a food bank and a food pantry?
Independent community food pantries are self-governing and usually distribute food to their clients on a once-a-month basis. A food bank is the storehouse for millions of pounds of food and other products that go out to the community. A food pantry functions as the arms that reach out to that community directly.
2. What kind of food is at a food Bank?
Specifically, Illinois food banks often need items like:
- Peanut butter
- Canned soup
- Canned fruit
- Canned vegetables
- Canned beans
- Canned stew
- Canned fish
3. How do you qualify for Illinois food bank assistance?
To qualify for food bank assistance you must provide:
- Current state-issued ID
- Social Security numbers of all household members
- Current electric bill to prove residence
- Bank Statement for income verification