Lost SNAP Card Solutions and Resources
If you’re among the over 38 million Americans who count on the SNAP program, you don’t need us to tell you the value of this resource. You also don’t need us to tell you how stressful losing or misplacing these benefits could be.
Contending with a lost SNAP card may sound like a nightmare scenario, but there are tools and programs available to make replacing your card easier. Here, we will discuss the resources that you can use to replace your missing SNAP card. Read on to reclaim your benefits and recover what you have lost.
Disable Your Lost SNAP Card
There are a few ways that someone can lose their SNAP card. The most common is simply misplacing the card itself. This is inevitable since everyone loses things sometimes- it might have just fallen out of your wallet or pocket.
In these scenarios, replacing your SNAP card is a stress-free process. First, you need to contact EBT customer support by phone at 1 (888) 328-6399. If you prefer, you can use ConnectEBT’s website to report your EBT card as being lost.
However, if you suspect that your card may have been stolen, or if you are unsure of what happened to it, you need to take a few additional steps. It’s generally a good idea to treat all scenarios in which a SNAP card is missing as potential theft. Even if you dropped it somewhere, you don’t know who may have access to it.
The Three-Step Reporting Process
The first step is to contact EBT customer support immediately after realizing that your SNAP card is missing. The details of this are outlined above.
Once that’s done, step 2 is to contact your local SNAP agency. Report the problem and request an EBT ARU PIN restriction. This feature restricts your account and prevents unauthorized users that may have access to your card from using your SNAP benefits.
You’ll need to go to your local SNAP agency and sign a permission form as the cardholder. The permission form from your assistance center makes it impossible for someone to change your card’s PIN online. Therefore, any PIN changes after signing this form must be done by you, with your card physically on your person, at your assistance center.
The third step is to request that a new card be issued to you. Some people choose to ask for a replacement when they initially contact EBT customer service to report their lost SNAP card. However, this often does not occur due to stress and security concerns, so you will need to contact your representative and request a new card.
Let’s take a look at how to do this.
Using the Connected Website
You likely are familiar with the ConnectEBT website’s general layout and structure. It’s the hub for most SNAP card accounts, where you can get your account summary. You also access transaction details and get account statements on this site.
(If you are a SNAP program participant without a bank account, you may receive your benefits via Direct Express. Support for reporting and replacement of a lost Direct Express card can be found here.)
ConnectEBT’s website is also where you can chat with live representatives about issues with your card. For example, if you have problems using the website to request a PIN change or a new card, these representatives can help you.
You can report your card as damaged, lost, or stolen on the website. You can also communicate with EBT customer service and ask for resources on how to get a new card.
You may, however, be told to call the toll-free number of EBT customer service. For this reason, you may want to start by calling 1 (888) 328-6399 in the first place.
Contending With Transaction Errors
It’s a good idea to check on your account balance and recent transactions regularly on ConnectEBT’s website. This is especially true if you cannot find your card. If you see any unauthorized charges on your SNAP card, you need to report those charges in addition to requesting a new card.
While users cannot use your SNAP benefits without a PIN, there are ways for smart thieves to access this information online. When this happens, it’s critical that you shut down your card as well as the ability to change its PIN online. You don’t want a thief to alter it so that you are locked out of the account.
There’s no guarantee that you can retrieve any lost funds, but you can probably resolve your claim and get at least a portion of the money back. SNAP account claims generally will be resolved within 15 days. However, cash account claims may take around a month to resolve.
Phone-In SNAP Card Resources
Calling EBT representatives on the phone is generally the easiest way to report a lost or stolen card. It also is the most straightforward way to request that a new one be sent to you.
As we have stated previously, the federal SNAP customer service number is 1 (888) 328-6399. You can call this number 24/7.
However, if you are on state SNAP benefits, you will need to call the SNAP center for your specific state.
Calling the EBT Help Desk
To place a call, you will first need access to a phone. In an increasingly digital world, lacking a cell phone can restrict your access to government benefits as well as job applications and other resources.
If you don’t have your own phone, consider applying for Lifeline service. Lifeline is a government benefit program that provides wireless service to low-income consumers.
Once you place the call, you will need to follow the Automated Response Unit (ARU) prompts. This will include entering the 16-digit card number that’s on the front of your card. Since your card is missing, you might find this number on your bills, on your account website, or within your personal records.
If you still don’t know your number, there will be a link to speak to a customer service representative. You can tell them the situation and answer any security questions that they ask you.
You will also have access to the customer service rep whenever you need assistance. This ensures that you won’t be left stranded when dealing with the ARU bot.
Since the SNAP program divides the cost of your benefits between the federal and state government, there are also state-specific resources that you can access. For example, do a quick Google search on reporting and replacing a lost SNAP card in your specific state.
Different areas have different policies on how to access and obtain a new card. You should at least be aware of how your state does it. If you want readier access to this information, you can ask the federal SNAP customer service rep you speak with on the phone when asking for a new card.
Getting Your Replacement Card
Your replacement card should arrive at your registered address in between 1-2 weeks.
If applicable, your EBT card will be mailed out before the initial PIN for the new card. They’re sent separately to keep your information secure and will come within a couple of days of each other.
However, since your previous account was frozen at the EBT center that you went to, you’ll need to go back to the center to unfreeze the account. Your PIN cannot be changed without this step. This is even true if you want to use the new PIN sent to you in the mail.
Go to the same EBT center where you signed the permission form to make it impossible to change your PIN remotely. When you show representatives your new card and ID, you will change your PIN and unfreeze your account.
Save Money on Your Wireless Service
Now that you know how to disable and replace a lost SNAP card, it’s time to begin reclaiming your benefits.
If you qualify for SNAP benefits, you also qualify for Lifeline service. Lifeline is a federal benefit program that makes it possible for low-income consumers to receive access to free or heavily discounted communication services. Click here to find out more and apply for this valuable benefit.