Why Is My EBT Card Getting Declined? I Have Money!
This information is current as of July 25, 2022.
You’re at the grocery store with a cart full of food, your two-year-old is crying, and you are thankful you’re about to check out and get her home for her nap.
As you load your things onto the belt while simultaneously trying to calm your daughter, the cashier finishes scanning your last item. You hand her your EBT card as you promise your two-year-old it will only be a minute longer until you can leave.
But then the cashier looks at you and quietly says, “Ma’am, your card was declined.”
Utter embarrassment and frustration take over. You are sure you have money in your account, so what is happening? EBT card declined, but you have money? Here’s what to do.
Sound familiar? Has this ever happened to you, and you’re wondering what to do? First, don’t freak out! It will be fine, and we’ll figure it out together.
There are many different reasons your EBT card may be declining, even when you have the funds.
Let’s look at how the SNAP program works and why your card may be getting declined.
What Is the SNAP Program?
SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is a government-funded program that provides food for low-income people.
Two-thirds of SNAP clients are families with children, and one-third are older or disabled. SNAP operates in all 50 states, including Guam, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands.
Who Is Eligible for SNAP?
SNAP is wildly available to low-income families and folks with disabilities.
To qualify for SNAP:
- Your gross monthly income must be at or below 130 percent of the national poverty level, or $2379 monthly. If your household has a member over 60 with a disability, they do not need to meet this requirement.
- Your monthly income after deductions must be less than or equal to the poverty level or $1830
- Your assets must be below certain limits. As of 2022, those limits are $2500 for households without a disabled person and $3750 for those who do
How Often Will I Get Paid With EBT?
The good thing about SNAP is that the payments are consistent once you are approved. Depending on the state, they are typically deposited between the 10th and 14th of each month.
So, Why Is My EBT Card Getting Declined?
I can understand the total panic anyone would feel when a card is declined, whether it’s EBT or a regular credit card. Especially for moms with children and low-income or disabled folks.
So many people depend on SNAP to feed their families.
There are a few reasons why your EBT Card may have been declined, even when you are sure you had money.
The Schedule May Have Been Adjusted
Each state does things differently. Some base the schedule on your birthday, SSN, last name, case number, or other reasons.
Maybe your state failed to make you aware of any schedule adjustments. This can be frustrating. Below is a list of when each state schedules its payments.
- Alabama: the 4th-23rd of the month and is based on your case number
- Alaska: the 1rst of the month. Any smaller or other payments can occur at any time during the rest of the month
- Arizona: first 13 days of the month, based on the first letter of your last name
- Arkansas: the 4th-13th of the month, based on the last two digits of your SSN.
- California: the 1rst-10th of each month, depending on the last digit of your case number
- Colorado: the first ten days of the month, based on the last digit of your SSN
- Connecticut: the first three days of the month, based on the first letter of your last name
- Delaware: the 2nd and 23rd day of the month, based on the 1rst letter of your last name
- Florida: the 1rst and 28th of each month, based on the 9th and 8th digits of your case number
- Georgia: the 5th to the 23rd of the month, based on the last digit of your case number
- Hawaii: the 3rd and 5th of each month, based on the 1rst letter of your last name
- Idaho: the 1rst and 10th of the month, based on the last number of your birth year
- Illinois: the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th, 14th, 17th, 19th, 21st, and 23rd of the month, based on case type and name
- Indiana: between the 3rd and 23rd of the month, based on the first letter of your last name
- Iowa and Kansas: over the first ten calendar days of each month, based on the first letter of your last name
- Kentucky: the first 19 days of the month, based on the last digit of your case number
- Louisiana: the 1st and 23rd of the month, based on the last digit of your SSN
- Maine: the 10th through the 14th of the month, based on the last digit of your birthday
- Maryland: between the 4th and 23rd of the month, based on the first three letters of your last name
- Massachusetts: over the first 14 days, based on the last digits of your SSN
- Michigan: the 3rd through the 22nd of each month
- Minnesota: the 4th through the 13th of the month, based on the last digit of your case number
- Mississippi: between the 4th and the 21st of the month, based on the last two numbers of your case number
- Missouri: over the first 22 days of the month, based on your birthday and last name
- Montana: the 2nd to the 6th of each month, by the last digit of your case number
- Nebraska: the first five days of the month based on the last digit of your SSN
- Nevada: between the 1rst and 19th day of the month, based on the last digit of your birth year
- New Hampshire: on the 5th of the month, for all clients
- New Jersey: over the first five days of the month, based on the last digit of your case number
- New Mexico: over the first 20 days of each month, based on the last two digits of your SSN
- New York and Oklahoma: the first ten days of the month, based on the last digit of your case number
- North Carolina: between the 1st and 19th of each month, based on the last digit of your SSN
- North Dakota: the first of the month for all clients
- Ohio: between the 1st and 10th days of the month
- Oregon: between the 1st and 9th of the month, based on the 1rst digit of your SSN
- Pennsylvania: over the first ten business days of the month
- Rhode Island: on the first day of the month
- South Carolina: the 1st and 10th of the month, based on the last digit of your case number
- South Dakota: the 10th of every month
- Tennessee: the first 20 days of the month, based on the last two digits of your SSN
- Texas: the first 15 days of the month, based on the last two digits of your case number
- Utah: on the 5th, 11th, or the 15th of the month, based on the first letter of your last name
- Vermont: on the 1st of the month
- Virginia: on the 1st, 4th, 7th, and 9th of the month, based on the last digit of your case number
- Washington: over the first ten days, based on the last digit of the client’s case number
- W. Virginia: over the first nine days of the month, based on the first letter of your last name
- Wisconsin: over the first 15 days of the month, based on the 8th digit of your SSN
- Wyoming: on the first four days of the month, based on the first letter of your last name
Also, be aware that if your payments are scheduled on a Sunday, they will be distributed the following Monday. Holidays can also affect the schedule. So, it’s important to remember that even these two factors can change your payment day.
Missing the Recertification Deadline
In most states, you will need to recertify or resubmit your paperwork every few months to prove that you are still eligible for benefits.
Perhaps you overlooked the appointment to recertify? Your benefits may have stopped if this happened.
Each certification depends on your circumstances. For the most part, it’s every 6-12 months, but thankfully, seniors and disabled folks only need to recertify every two years.
If you think you may have missed the deadline, reach out to your local agency to complete your re-certification.
It’s Been a While Since You’ve Used Your Benefits
This isn’t the case in all states, but sometimes your benefits will be stopped because you have not used their card in a long time (usually a year). If your card continues to accrue a high balance, it may be shut off for your protection. But the agency should send you a letter before this happens.
Your Account May Have Been Closed
In some cases, your EBT account may be closed. If you fail to comply with the terms of the program, this may result in your account being closed. One possibility will be if you are suspected of fraud or not fulfilling a work requirement. However, you should receive a letter before your account is closed.
What Should I Do if My EBT Card Gets Declined?
Try to remain calm. And don’t take your aggravations out on the store clerk as it is not their fault. You will need to call the agency or case worker and get to the root cause of why your card is getting declined. Together, with patience, you can get it straightened out.
Save Money on Your Wireless Phone Service
If you qualify for SNAP, you may also be eligible for Lifeline or the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Lifeline and ACP are government-run programs that help low-income consumers receive free or heavily discounted communication services.
Click here to find out more and apply for this valuable benefit.