If you’re struggling to make ends meet, you probably want to know the answer to this question: who gets EBT cash benefits? It’s a fair question, as the requirements to qualify for EBT cash benefits are relatively strict and can vary by location. Moreover, many people get confused about different programs that provide EBT card funds.
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In today’s guide, we will take a closer look at exactly who gets EBT cash benefits, how these benefits differ from other EBT programs, and how much you can expect to get each month. So, let’s get started!
What are EBT cash benefits?
EBT cash benefits are generally categorized as any benefits that can be deposited to your Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card for general purposes. Since funds provided through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can only be used to buy food items at participating retail chains and supermarkets, they are not considered EBT cash benefits. Alternatively, any funds that you can use for more general purposes qualify as EBT cash benefits.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is the main program that provides EBT cash benefits. If you qualify for TANF, you can get automatic deposits to your EBT card that can be withdrawn from ATMs for cash or used for debit purchases for all of the following types of purchases:
- Home maintenance
- Personal hygiene
- Employment expenses
- Medical supplies not paid for by Medicaid
- Other basic needs
That said, EBT cash benefits can be used at virtually any store that accepts debit cards, which means that you can use these funds to buy most products on the market. Since TANF funds can be withdrawn as cash at ATMs, this expands your buying power even further.
However, welfare programs like TANF set rules to restrict recipients from using these funds for things like alcohol, tobacco, drugs, or gambling. Thus, you will need to be careful to ensure that your purchases do not break any laws or TANF guidelines — as these kinds of purchases could run the risk of you losing your benefits altogether.
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Who gets EBT cash benefits?
TANF is a federal program that administers funds to states, who then decide exactly how to allocate the money. However, there are still some rules set at the federal level. Consequently, you will generally need to meet the following requirements to get EBT cash benefits:
- Be unemployed or underemployed (but working towards full employment)
- Have very low income (based on the cost of living in your state or locality)
- Be a U.S. citizen, resident alien, or qualified alien
- Have a child who is 18 years of age or younger, OR
- Be pregnant, OR
- Be 18 years or younger and the head of your household
As you can see, the requirements for TANF are somewhat limiting. You will need to show proof that your income and employment are insufficient to meet your basic needs. Additionally, you will need to show some proof of your residency status, as well as information regarding dependents. If you are over 18 and do not have any children, you will likely not qualify.
However, it’s important to remember that the requirements and rules regarding who gets EBT cash benefits can vary from state to state. To find the nearest TANF program in your state, you can reference this interactive map. Generally speaking, a family of five will need to have limited assets and bring in no more than *$300 per month to qualify for TANF.
It’s also important to note that many states offer one-time emergency EBT cash benefits. This means that, rather than getting monthly payments for a set period of time, you will get a one-time influx of cash to help deal with a crisis. For example, if you suddenly lose your job, lose your home, or experience a costly medical emergency, you may qualify for a one-time EBT cash benefits transfer.
There are also special one-time benefits payments for certain types of caretakers. In Texas, for example, grandparents can receive $1,000 in emergency EBT cash benefits if they are at least 45 years old, do not have access to money for basic needs, and have one or more grandchildren who qualify for TANF.
*This number varies by state or locality, as well as the total size of your family.
How much can I expect to get?
As previously stated, the TANF cash benefits program is regulated by the federal government, though each state has the power to administer funds in accordance with its own laws. Additionally, the cost of living in your area — as well as the size of your family — can play a major role in the final amount you receive each month.
For example, let’s say that you live in the state of Texas and you qualify for EBT cash benefits. According to the Texas Department of Health & Human Services, you can get monthly TANF if you fall within the following categories:
“Families with children age 18 and younger. Families who can get this help have little to no money or don’t have a way to get money. A family can be: (1) parents and their children, or (2) relatives caring for related children.”
If you qualify for TANF in Texas, the state will then evaluate your financial needs. The primary focus will be on the size of your family and the number of dependents under your care. The chart below shows the maximum monthly EBT cash benefits you can receive based on your family size, as well as the number of parents or caretakers:
|Family Size||Child-Only Homes||1 Parent or Caretaker||2 Parents or Caretakers|
*You can add approximately $71 per additional family member
The Bottom Line
So, who gets EBT cash benefits? The truth is that the answer can vary from one state to another. However, if you have very limited income and have one or more dependents, you can likely qualify. There are also cases in which children who are also the head of the household can get EBT cash benefits. In any case, if you’d like to learn even more about who gets EBT cash benefits and the process for applying, be sure to check out our guide on how to get EBT cash benefits!