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I remember the panic I felt as I demanded, “Why didn’t my EBT card refill?!” As a young mom with little income, I counted on those food stamps to keep my family fed. When the day came and the money didn’t show up, I was so worried.
Have you ever felt that way?
It turns out, there are several common reasons why your food stamps may not arrive when you expect them.
“Why didn’t my EBT card refill?”
If you’re wondering where your EBT benefits are, we’ve found four reasons why your food stamps or EBT cash benefits may not have arrived when expected.
The schedule may have been adjusted.
Although many states send their benefits payments on the first of each month, other states do things differently. Some states determine their schedules based on your birthday, last name, case number, application date, Social Security Number, or another factor. For our most recent food stamp schedule, click here.
If your payments were due to be sent out on a Sunday, they will often be disbursed the following Monday. Holidays can also affect the distribution schedule.
You may have missed a re-certification deadline.
Every few months, you will need to re-certify, or resubmit paperwork to prove that you are still eligible for benefits. If you miss a deadline for paperwork or a phone interview, your benefits may stop.
The re-certification varies, depending on your circumstances. The length of time is usually 6-12 months. Some people, may have to re-certify more frequently. With the ESAP program, seniors and disabled adults may only need to re-certify once every two years!
It’s important to always check your mail and open anything you receive from the food stamps office. This will help you ensure that you do not miss any deadlines.
If the answer to “Why didn’t my EBT card refill?” is that you missed a deadline, you will need to contact your local agency as soon as possible in order to complete your re-certification. If you complete your re-certification within 30 days of the date it was due, your case may be reopened with minimal difficulty.
You haven’t used your benefits in a while.
Although it is much less common, sometimes benefits will be stopped because someone has not used their card in a long time (usually an entire year) or the card has accrued an unusually high balance. You will receive a letter from the agency before your benefits are stopped for this reason, however.
Your account has been closed.
In some cases, your account may have been closed unexpectedly. This may happen if you fail to comply with terms of the program, such as an ABAWD work requirement, or if you are suspected of fraud. If this happens, you should receive a letter in the mail notifying you about the closure.
Make sure to stay in contact with the office to ensure your benefits don’t get interrupted.
When you’re counting on food stamps to feed your family, any interruption in benefits can be very alarming. The best way to avoid asking, “Why didn’t my EBT card refill?” is to ensure that you remain in contact with the office and in compliance with the program at all times.
Read and respond to all letters ASAP.
It is important to always read and respond to mail from the food stamps office. If you do not understand the letter that is sent to you, you can contact the office for clarification and even ask for an interpreter if you need one.
If you need to re-certify, comply with a requirement, or respond to an accusation of fraud, it is important to do so as soon as possible. Delaying your response could put you at risk of missing a critical deadline, which could cause you to miss a food stamps disbursement.
Even if you aren’t notified about the need to re-certify, you can always check in with the office to ensure that you are not due to check in. That way, you’ll never be surprised and left wondering “Why didn’t my EBT card refill?”
Always notify the office of changes within 10 days.
You are always required to notify the food stamps office of any major changes that happen in your life.
This includes, but is not limited to:
- Income changes (usually changes of more than $50-$100 per month)
- Employment changes (you start or stop a job)
- Location changes (new addresses)
- Expense changes (rent, mortgage, utility cost or child support expense adjustments)
- Household changes (divorce, separation, newborn baby, someone moved in or out)
You will need to report these changes quickly (usually within 10 days). If you do not report these changes in a timely fashion, you could potentially get into trouble. It may even be the reason why you’re wondering “Why didn’t my EBT card refill?” right now.
You could be ordered to repay any extra payments you received, and you could be charged with a crime. Besides, sometimes reporting these changes could create an increase in the amount of food stamps you receive!
Do you have more questions like “Why didn’t my EBT card refill?”
We write extensively about food stamps topics. If you have more food stamps questions, be sure to check out these helpful posts!
- 450+ freebies and deals for people on food stamps
- 7 surprising things you can buy with food stamps
- How to get more food stamps every month
- Fast food with EBT?! It works in these areas!
- Food Stamps FAQ
I hope this helps! If you have any additional questions, please leave a comment below!