What is EBT?

Electronic Benefits Transfer, or EBT, is a system through which recipients of certain government benefits receive and spend funds electronically, using a plastic EBT card like a bank debit card. Benefits are deposited electronically into the recipient's program account. The recipient can then use his or her EBT card to make purchases, which are subtracted from the account.

West Virginia, along with other states, uses EBT to disburse benefits from the US Department of Agriculture's special programs, including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) known as WV WORKS and Child Support Incentive programs. Benefits for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) are on a separate EBT card currently. 

Eligibility requirements and the amount of assistance received do not change under EBT. Once approved, an EBT account is opened in the client's name, and SNAP and/or WV WORKS benefits are electronically deposited into the account. There are no fees when recipients use EBT cards for purchases, but fees may apply to cash withdrawals from ATMs or electronic balance inquiries.

If you qualify for SNAP benefits, you can use your Mountain State Card to:

  • Buy selected food items at any store that accepts EBT benefits.
  • Buy selected seed items at any store that accepts EBT benefits.

If you qualify for WV WORKS/Cash benefits, you can use your Mountain State Card to:

  • Withdraw benefits from any QUEST® ATM throughout West Virginia or nationwide.
  • Pay for purchases at stores that accept EBT benefits.
  • Get cash back with a purchase at a store that accepts EBT benefits. 

Using an EBT card is:

  • Easy - SNAP purchases for food and seeds can made at any USDA/FNS approved retailer. At the checkout counter, the EBT card is used like a credit card in the POS (point of sale) machine. WV WORKSmonthly benefits can also be used at the checkout counter and through ATM (automated teller machines) and POS machines. 
  • Safe - The EBT card cannot be used without the secret PIN (personal identification number) that is chosen by the cardholder as soon as the card is received. The same plastic EBT card can be used for years when kept in a safe, clean place and when not exposed to magnets, cellphones, sunlight or high heat.
  • Convenient - Benefit deposits are made to the EBT card monthly. No vouchers, checks or direct deposits to a personal account are needed.
  • Reliable - Electronically distributed benefits are delivered accurately and on time according to a monthly schedule that never changes and is based on the first letter of the cardholder’s last name. Click here for the SNAP Issuance Schedule.
  • Discreet - The EBT card design looks like any other credit card used by shoppers.
  • Well-liked -  Retailers and bankers like the ease of processing the EBT benefits with a card, eliminating the paper vouchers, sorting of coupons and reconciling a longer process. Retailers can focus their attention on interactions with cardholders since making purchases is much quicker and more convenient for everyone.

Clients can call the 24-hour, toll free phone number 1-866-545-6502 for automated assistance to obtain account balances and to report lost or stolen cards.
Clients can also access the Cardholder Portal Internet site: www.ebtedge.com