Texas Lone Star SNAP Benefit Card — What Is It and How Can You Get One?

A pre-school age girl helps her parents pick out veggies in the produce section at the grocery store.
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The Texas Health and Human Services department provides SNAP food benefits and temporary assistance for needy families in the form of cash through what it calls the Lone Star Card. It is a plastic card that acts like a normal debit card to pay for items at the grocery store. Keep reading to find out more about the benefits it provides.

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SNAP benefits are put into your account once a month. The last number in your SNAP Eligibility Determination Group number tells what day of the month you will receive your benefits. This is the same day each month. You will be able to find your EDG number on the TF0001 form sent to you declaring you eligible for SNAP benefits. If you are unable to find this number, you can call 800-777-7328 for assistance.

TANF benefits are also placed on the card once a month. The last number in your TANF Eligibility Determination Group number tells you which day you will receive your benefits.

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You can find the schedules for SNAP and TANF benefit payments on the Lone Star FAQ page of the Texas Health and Human Services website. If you’ve not yet applied, you can do so on the Your Texas Benefits website.

You can use Lone Star Card SNAP benefits to buy grocery items like fruit and vegetables, dairy products, packaged foods and poultry and meat items. You can even use the card to purchase seeds to grow your own food. However, you can’t use the card to buy alcohol or tobacco products, hot foods or foods sold to eat in the store. Non-food household items such as soap, paper products, health and beauty products, pet foods and refundable container deposits are also ineligible for purchase using your Lone Star Card.

There’s no fee to use your Lone Star Card to purchase approved items. Here’s how to make your purchases:

  1. Swipe your card at the register.
  2. Select “EBT” as your payment method.
  3. Enter your PIN. You must enter it yourself. The cashier cannot do it for you, and you should never show your PIN to anyone.
  4. Keep your receipt. It shows how much you have left on your card.

Benefits loaded onto your card remain there for a year, so what you don’t use one month rolls over to the next. Subsequent benefits are simply added to your existing balance.

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About the Author

Georgina Tzanetos is a former financial advisor who studied post-industrial capitalist structures at New York University. She has eight years of experience with concentrations in asset management, portfolio management, private client banking, and investment research. Georgina has written for Investopedia and WallStreetMojo. 
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