Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT)
What is EBT?
EBT stands for Electronic Benefit Transfer. It is the electronic distribution of benefits to Indiana families who qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/food assistance) and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF/cash assistance).
In Indiana, participants in SNAP and TANF access their EBT benefits using the Hoosier Works card. The card works like a bank debit card. Indiana cardholders can use their Hoosier Works card at any store in the United States that accepts food assistance.
The Hoosier Works EBT card is light blue, with gold and dark blue lettering. It has a unique sixteen-digit account number, a magnetic strip on the back, and will only work with a four digit Personal Identification Number (PIN).
EBT is Easy, Convenient and Secure
EASY! EBT is as easy to use as a debit card or credit card. Cardholders receive a training brochure with their first EBT card which explains how to use the card. Cardholders will also have access to a 24-hour EBT toll-free number (1-877-768-5098) to set-up their PIN, check benefits, report a card lost or stolen, or receive other assistance. Most cardholder inquires will be answered by an automatic response system; however, there is an option to speak to a live customer service representative.
CONVENIENT! When paying for qualifying groceries or goods, the Hoosier Works card is run through an electronic reader or a POS (Point Of Sale) terminal at check out. Most stores have the capacity to run the EBT card through terminals that accept standard commercial card transactions and do not require a special EBT machine. Only smaller stores will have separate lines for EBT transactions. No money or food coupons change hands. Payment is made directly to the retailer through a settlement process at the end of the business day.
SECURE! Transactions are secure because the Hoosier Works card can never be used without the customer's Personal Identification Number (PIN). Cardholders will never be asked to reveal their PIN number by anyone.
Please Note: If an employee or cashier asks for a PIN number, a cardholder should not give it to that person under any circumstances. Cardholders may want to report the employee’s behavior to the management of the establishment.
Where and How to Use the Hoosier Works Card
All participating retailers and ATMs will display the QUEST® service mark to indicate that they accept the EBT card. Retailers also typically have signs at store entries saying that they accept SNAP benefits. Most large retailers accept EBT cards.
Illegal TANF Withdrawals
Making a TANF (cash) withdraw at certain ATMs is illegal even if the Quest logo is on an ATM.
Under Indiana law (IC 12-13-14-4.5), specific restrictions make it illegal to access TANF benefits at certain establishments. It is a Class C misdemeanor to use your Hoosier Works card at the following locations:
- Liquor stores
- Private clubs and lodges (Knights of Columbus, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Elks, etc.)
- Horse racing tracks
- Off-track betting parlors
- Bingo halls
- Gun stores
- Adult entertainment establishments
A person convicted of a Class C misdemeanor can be jailed for up to sixty (60) days and can be fined up to five hundred (500) dollars.
Using the Indiana Hoosier Works Card:
- The cardholder swipes the EBT card through the Point-Of-Sale (POS) terminal OR hands it to the cashier.
- The cardholder enters the four-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN) on the keypad. Cardholders should not let anyone else see the PIN and should not tell the PIN to the cashier or any other employee, even if asked!
- The amount of the purchase is deducted from the account.
- The cashier hands the cardholder a receipt.
- The receipt shows the new account balance.
- In addition to the household’s remaining SNAP balance, the sales receipt will state the date, the merchant’s name, location, transaction type, and transaction amount.
Allowable SNAP Purchases
SNAP benefits may only be used to purchase food. Stores cannot give change or cash back from a food benefit transaction. Only the exact amount of food purchases may be deducted from the food benefit account. If returns are made from a SNAP account, the amount of the return will go onto the EBT card as a credit. Cash cannot be given for returns according to federal law. There is no minimum dollar amount per transaction or a maximum limit on the number of transactions.
Allowable TANF Purchases
TANF may be used to purchase both food and non-food items (soap, diapers, hygiene etc.)
Most stores, especially large grocery stores, are able to give change or cash from a TANF transaction. However, depending on the store’s policy, not all will offer cash-back.
The Hoosier Works Card Never Expires!
The Hoosier Works card will not expire even if a cardholder is no longer eligible for benefits. It is a good idea for cardholders to keep their cards even when they no longer receive benefits. If the person becomes eligible for benefits again, they can use the same Hoosier Works card and will not have to order and wait for a new one.
Using the Indiana Hoosier Works Card at an Automated Teller Machine (ATM):
- Insert or swipe the Hoosier Works card
- Choose “English” or “Spanish”
- Enter the Personal Identification Number (PIN) and press the OK or Enter key
- Select the key marked “Withdraw Cash” and then select “Checking”
- Enter the amount you’d like in whole dollar amounts (for example, $20, $40, $60.) Most ATM machines only allow withdrawals of $20 bills.
- Cardholder makes sure to take card, receipt and cash
- Cardholder should count the cash and compare it to the receipt
- Keep the receipt to know the account balance for the next cash withdrawal
Remember that you can ONLY get cash from an ATM if you have a TANF (cash benefit) account. You cannot get cash from your SNAP (food assistance) account. SNAP benefits can only be used to purchase food from a store that accepts the EBT Hoosier Works card.
Misuses of the Hoosier Works Card
Besides TANF withdrawals at certain ATM’s as described above, other misuses of benefits as described below are violations of state and federal laws:
- Selling, trading or giving away your Hoosier Works Card or benefits
- Allowing a retailer to buy your food benefits in exchange for cash
- Using or buying someone else’s food benefits or Hoosier Works Card.
People who break Food Assistance Program rules may be disqualified from the program, fined, put in prison, or all three. They will also be required to repay the benefits. SNAP is a Federal Program and therefore subject to Federal legislation.
- A card is lost or stolen. Cardholders should call immediately
- A card is damaged
- To select or change a PIN
- To check an account balance
- For questions or help with a card.
- To hear your last 10 transactions
- Online: https://www.connectebt.com/
- Phone toll-free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 1-877-768-5098
Contact the Division of Family Resources to report a change to your case or to resolve eligibility issues:
- Online: http://www.in.gov/fssa/dfr/2999.htm
- Phone toll-free, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST: 1-800-403-0864
All address changes must go through FSSA in order to reach the EBT system. Customer service representatives working at the EBT toll-free number are not able to update cardholder addresses or resolve eligibility issues.
Examples of when cardholders should call the FSSA Toll Free number:
- Address change
- Household members have changed
- Difficulty understanding benefits or determining why benefits are not showing on the Hoosier Works Card
- Hoosier Works Card FAQ's
- Find a local DFR office: http://www.in.gov/fssa/dfr/2999.htm
- Information about SNAP: http://www.in.gov/fssa/dfr/2691.htm
- Information about TANF: http://www.in.gov/fssa/dfr/2684.htm
The cardholder’s account may be adjusted due to errors. The cardholder has a right to notice when an adjustment is made, to request a fair hearing regarding the adjustment, and to receive provisional credit until the hearing decision is rendered. To dispute an adjustment and request a fair hearing, call 800-403-0864.
Use of Manual Vouchers When the EBT System is Not Available:
When the EBT system is down, or the retailer does not have an operational POS device, a paper voucher called a manual SNAP voucher is used. The cardholder hands the EBT card to the retailer’s clerk. The clerk records the transaction information on the manual SNAP voucher, which the cardholder signs. The EBT system places a hold on the manual SNAP transaction amount in the cardholder’s account. When the retailer transmits the information contained on the manual SNAP voucher to the EBT system, the EBT system deducts the purchase from the cardholder’s SNAP account.
When manual SNAP vouchers are used because the EBT system is down, transactions up to the amount of $40.00 can be authorized.