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Why Didn’t My EBT Card Refill? [4 Reasons]

Why Didn’t My EBT Card Refill? [4 Reasons]

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 Your EBT Benefits Didn’t Show Up

If you’re wondering where your EBT benefits are, we’ve found several 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.

The state may be running behind with paperwork.

In late 2022, several states began running extremely behind on their paperwork and this meant that some EBT clients did not receive their food stamps when they expected them. This has been a HUGE problem for a lot of people!

The reason for the backlog is frustratingly simple. The federal government allowed states to skip important paperwork steps, like interviews and recertifications, during the pandemic. As those pandemic-era waivers ended, states found themselves scrambling to complete the paperwork for every account on file. In order to keep those benefits going, they had to catch up on all the steps that hadn’t been done in years.


With a shortage of social workers, these understaffed and overworked offices have had a very hard time catching up. Some have successfully applied for extensions that will allow them to resume benefits while they work through the backlog, but there is no way to know how long it will take.

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 nine months to a 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. Don’t forget to open every letter you receive from the agency in charge of your benefits. You can’t afford to miss notices like this.

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. If your account is closed because you did something wrong (like fraud), you may not be able to apply again. If you are innocent of any wrongdoing, however, you should be able to reapply and restart your benefits.

woman at grocery store wonders why didn't my ebt card refill

Were your benefits stolen?

In 2022, there was a huge spike in EBT thefts. This has been a major source of stress moving into January 2023. In fact, the problem is so prevalent that the recent Omnibus spending bill even included provisions that would allow the government to start replacing stolen benefits.


To make sure that your EBT card didn’t refill, check your transaction history. It’s possible that your benefits arrived and were promptly stolen by a third party. People have lost thousands of dollars in benefits to these scammers, so you need to be careful.

If you were the victim of theft, make sure you change your PIN and contact the food stamps office right away for next steps.

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!

Kandace Harrison

Monday 11th of March 2024

My edt food stamps didn't refill for march

luann kirkland

Wednesday 31st of January 2024

i am on a fixed in come and snap helped me get by every month but my snap card was not refilled this month so i had to use money from my check to eat and now am behind on my bills. when i called the dhs number i was on hold for an hour and ran out off minutes on my phone so i went to their office but got no answers just a big run around could someone just give me an answer

Catherine Marucci

Thursday 1st of February 2024

Hi Luann. Unfortunately, their office is the only one with access to that. Did you check your state's web portal to see if you could get any information that way?


Sunday 21st of January 2024

I don't understand why I didn't receive my full benefit when I reported a income change by phone, email, and in person I had to leave my job due to health issues the date I received them every month is the 19th I left my job on 12-24-23 I emailed and called on 12-27-23 I went in person on 12-29-23 and 01-05-24 and again on 01-16-24 and they never did the change i received 49.00 dollars on 01-19-24 there are 3 members in my home I don't understand how they can do this i live in North Carolina.

Linda poore

Tuesday 12th of December 2023

Why didn't my EBT card refill

Catherine Marucci

Wednesday 13th of December 2023

Hi. You may have to contact your case worker.


Thursday 21st of September 2023

I recertify recently and they approved it for 470 , I have a family of 3 persons. Myself and 2 kids, my income is below the poverty level for family of 3. I wonder if the made a mistake with 470 instead of 740, which is suppose to be for a family of 3

Catherine Marucci

Friday 22nd of September 2023

Hi. There may be some deductions you are not claiming. Here is a link that explains more: