What Are SNAP EBT Cash Benefits and How Can You Apply?

Family with children in supermarket stock photo
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Many people are familiar with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly called food stamps, which delivers money in the form of an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card to low-income families. The program allows low-income families to purchase food, non-alcoholic beverages, seeds, and ingredients used to make meals at home.

See: SNAP Schedule: Monthly Benefits for California Disburse Starting on March 1
Find: What is SNAP & Is it The Same as Food Stamps?

However, you may not have heard of the EBT Cash Benefits program, which provides funds to low-income families to use for a variety of living expenses. The most common EBT Cash program is the federally managed Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

The program is federally funded but run by individual states. Previously known as welfare, TANF delivers funding to eligible individuals and families to help pay for food, housing, home energy and other utility bills, childcare, job training, transportation, and other living expenses. The funds are designed to help families and individuals who have fallen on hard times get back on their feet and recover financially.

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TANF funds are distributed through an EBT Cash benefits card, which can be used for purchases at any store or website that accepts EBT as a form of payment. An EBT Cash card, unlike the EBT card issued for SNAP benefits, can also be used to withdraw cash from an ATM.

Who Qualifies for TANF or EBT Cash Benefits?

Income qualifications vary based on the state where you live. To qualify for TANF, you must be a resident of the state in which you are applying. Individuals who are either U.S. citizens, legal aliens, or qualified aliens may apply for TANF benefits.

Additionally, according to Benefits.gov, to qualify for TANF you must:

  • Have a child 18 or younger or,
  • Be pregnant or,
  • Be 18 or younger and qualify as a head-of-household.

Learn: What Are the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, and How Can You Apply?
Explore: Can You Buy Pet Food with Your EBT Card Food Stamps?

How Can You Apply for EBT Cash?

To apply for TANF benefits, you’ll want to reach out to the Department of Social Services or Family Assistance for your state. Each state has a different name for the administrators of the TANF program. You can find the contact information, including a phone number and website, for each state at the Office of the Administration for Children & Families website.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.

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