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Can I Use My EBT Card In Other States?

Can I Use My EBT Card In Other States?

Can I use my EBT card in other states? Good news! It’s allowed to use your EBT card in other states. However, there are a few things you should know before using your EBT card in other states. Read on for more information from Low Income Relief about what to look out for when using your EBT card in other states, whether you can use your EBT card in United States territories like Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and what to do about EBT if you move to another state. 

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Can I use my EBT card in other states?

The short answer to the question, “can I use my EBT card in other states” is YES! The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (aka. SNAP or food stamps) is a federal program, meaning that the funding for the program comes from the U.S. government in Washington, DC, not from the state where you reside. 

The same is true for EBT cash benefits. As long as you use your EBT card / cash benefits at authorized retailers, for authorized purchases, using your EBT card in another state is perfectly legal. 

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Can I use my EBT card in other U.S. territories?

So, we have answered the question, “can I use my EBT card in other states?” (you can!). But what about United States territories? United States territories include Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa. 

You can use your EBT card (SNAP and cash benefits) in Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. However, the EBT programs administered in Puerto Rico, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa are different. EBT cards issued in Puerto Rico, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa may only be used there. Unfortunately, EBT cards issued in the 50 U.S. states, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands cannot be used in Puerto Rico, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa either. 

And finally, even though Washington, DC is not technically a state, you can use an EBT card issued in any of the 50 U.S. states there as well! 

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Can I use my EBT card in other states for an unlimited time?

It seems that there is not a limit to how long you can use your EBT card in other states. However, some states might notice if you continue to use your EBT card out of state for more than 30 days and ask you to verify your residency in the state where your EBT card was issued. 

It is also important to note that it will raise a red flag if you are receiving EBT / SNAP from more than one state at the same time. It is not legal to receive SNAP and/or cash benefits in more than one state at a time.

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Can I use my EBT card in other states if I move?

If you are moving to another state, you should contact your case worker in your current state of residency and close your EBT account before applying for EBT in your new state of residency. The new state that you move to will verify that your old EBT account is closed before issuing EBT benefits from your new state of residency. It is not legal to receive SNAP and/or cash benefits in more than one state at a time, so this is a very important step to take if you are moving to a new state.

That said, you can use your old EBT card in your new state as long as it is still active and the EBT account in your new state is not yet active. 

It is also important to remember that an EBT card from Puerto Rico, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, or American Samoa will not work within the 50 U.S. states and vice versa.

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Can I use my EBT card in other states for the Restaurant Meals Program?

Currently, there are only seven U.S. states that offer the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP). This program allows people who are unhoused or otherwise unable to prepare hot meals at home, to purchase low cost meals in restaurants using EBT. Those with access to the Restaurant Meals Program should have been issued a PIN that grants them access in participating restaurants. 

The states that participate in the Restaurant Meals Program include Arizona, California, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Rhode Island, and Virginia. New York State will soon implement the RMP as well. It is important to note that there are varying levels of restaurant participation in each of these states – not all restaurants accept EBT in these states. 

The USDA does not specify whether the participating states accept EBT for the RMP reciprocally. For example, even if the State of California has deemed you eligible for the RMP, it is not clear whether you would be able to use your benefits at a participating restaurant in Arizona. If you are an RMP recipient in your state, and you are traveling to another state that has RMP, then you should check with the state you are traveling to before attempting to use your EBT card at one of their participating restaurants. 

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Can I use my EBT card in other countries?

Unfortunately, EBT cards do not work in any other countries, including Canada and Mexico. This is because SNAP and EBT cash benefits are funded by the United States government and only United States retailers are allowed to participate. 

However, there are two places that are not U.S. states that accept EBT from anywhere in the U.S. You can use your EBT card in both Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, no matter what state you are from. 

With more advanced technology, it has become even easier in recent years for people to use EBT cards anywhere in the United States, no matter which state they reside in. For more information about EBT, check out more helpful resources from Low Income Relief!

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Catherine Hall, LMSW is a therapist at a small group practice in New York City. She earned her master of social work degree at New York University.