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What Does EBT Stand For?

What Does EBT Stand For?

What does EBT stand for? The answer is Electronic Benefits Transfer – and in this article, we’ll explain what that means and why you need to know about it.


What does EBT stand for?

The answer is Electronic Benefits Transfer. That’s the name of the technology that is used to run the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps) and often the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF or cash benefits) program.

The government uses this technology to automatically transfer benefits every month. The funds are sent from government coffers to an EBT card, which functions very similar to a debit card. The EBT card has two parts: cash and food.

SNAP funds are placed on the “food” part of the card and can only be redeemed for eligible food items. These include things like produce, meat, shelf-stable canned goods, and even seeds and produce-bearing plants!

Cash benefits are sent to the “cash” side of the card and can be used for non-food items, although there are still some restrictions. You can use the cash benefits for standard living expenses, including shelter, fuel, food, transportation, clothing, personal hygiene and employment expenses. You cannot use them for tattoos, piercings, alcohol, or other restricted items.


Why should I care about EBT?

These cash and food benefits help low income families make ends meet. These programs are extremely valuable to low income and underserved communities. They even help business owners by pouring money into the local economy.

Despite the value of this program, many people only know EBT from cultural references. That’s why so many people search for information like “What does EBT mean in rap?” and “What does EBT stand for in slang?” The slang, rap and other cultural references are all the same: EBT is Electronic Benefits Transfer.

Got EBT? Get discounts and free stuff!

Most people are familiar with words like food stamps or cash benefits or welfare. What you may not know is that there are some really great perks to having an EBT card!

Amazon Discounts

People who receive EBT can receive a 50% discount on their monthly Amazon Prime subscription!

Museums & Zoos

There are many cultural institutions, like Museums and Zoos, that offer discounts for people who receive EBT benefits. You can find a full list of over 700 participating locations at!

Internet Discounts

If you receive EBT benefits, you may be automatically eligible for some incredible discounts on your monthly internet bill as well! We’ve found about a dozen programs that help low income people slash their internet costs.

How do I get EBT?

In order to get EBT, you’ll need to apply for food stamps or TANF. These programs have their own income requirements, and sometimes the income requirements vary by state. The federal law provides some guidance, but states sometimes modify that. For example, Washington State allows people to receive benefits even when they make more than the usual federal poverty guidelines threshold.


Who is eligible for EBT?

To get an EBT card, you will need to apply for a program that distributes funds on an EBT card. For example, you could apply for food stamps or apply for TANF.

If you are approved for the program, then you will receive an EBT card that will receive benefit transfers every month that you remain eligible and enrolled in the program. To continue receiving benefits, you have to remain compliant with program policies and rules.

During the coronavirus pandemic, some school children also received a pandemic EBT (or P-EBT) card. These cards were similar but not identical to the official EBT cards.

What else should you know about EBT?

Now that you know the answer to “What does EBT stand for?” then you should also know that EBT is one of our favorite programs because it helps so many people.

If you’re interested in EBT topics, be sure to check out these must-reads: