Using Your SNAP Benefits

The Electronic Benefits Transaction (EBT) card is how we give approved households SNAP and some cash benefits.

An EBT card looks and works like a debit card. The SNAP money on your EBT card must be used to shop for food. See what you can buy with SNAP.

About your EBT card:

  1. If this is your first EBT card, we’ll mail your card within 30 days after you apply. If you qualify for emergency processing, you will get your card within 7 days.
    1. If you already have an EBT card, we’ll add SNAP money to that one unless you need a new card.
  2. If you are approved, you will get a letter saying when we will add SNAP money to your card every month. Make sure to renew your SNAP benefits to keep getting them.
  3. You can use your EBT card at any store that takes EBT: most grocery stores, some online stores, farmers markets.
  4. Keep using your EBT card:
    1. You do not need to spend all your SNAP money each month. Your balance will carry over to the following month(s).
    2. There is no limit to the number of times you can use your EBT card each month, as long as there is still money on the card.
    3. If you don’t use it for 9 months or more, you will lose the SNAP money on your card.
Activating your EBT card

  1. Call 1-888-328-2666 - the phone number on the back of the card.
  2. Select 1 for English or 2 for Spanish.
  3. Enter the 18-digit card number on the front of the card.
  4. Enter the Date of Birth of the person whose name is on the front of the card using 2-digit for month, 2-digit for day, and 4-digit for year.
    1. Example: October 3, 1998 = 10031998
  5. Enter the last four digits of their Social Security Number (SSN) of the person whose name is on the front of the card.
  6. OR

  7. If the person whose name is on the front of the card does not have an (SSN), enter four zeroes (0000) in place of the SSN.
  8. Select a 4-digit PIN.
  9. You will need to enter the 4-digit PIN two times.

To use your EBT card, you must enter your 4-digit PIN into the store card reader.

Protecting your EBT Card and PIN

Taking Care of Your EBT Card

  • Keep your card in a safe place when you are not using it.
  • Never write your PIN on your card.
  • Do not damage or bend your card.
  • Do not write on or scratch the black stripe on the back of your card.
  • Do not put your card near magnets, TVs, stereos, VCRs, or even the magnetic clasp on a purse.

Protecting Your PIN

PIN stands for Personal Identification Number. Your PIN is your electronic signature. It is like a key; it gives you access to your benefits.

  • Keep your PIN a secret.
  • Never write your PIN on your card.
  • Never let anyone see you enter your PIN at the store.
  • Never give anyone your card or PIN. If a person has your card and knows your PIN, they can spend all of your SNAP money.
  • If someone else steals your PIN and physical card, your SNAP money cannot be replaced.

Replacing your EBT card

If your EBT card is lost, stolen or damaged, there are 3 ways you can get a new one.

Choose one of the steps below:

  1. Call the CT DSS Benefit Center at 1-855-626-6632
  2. Contact EBT customer service 1-888-328-2666
  3. Visit any of the local 12 DSS Resource Centers

When you ask for a new EBT card, it deactivates your old card so that no one else can use it.

You will need to select a new PIN for your new EBT card.

If SNAP money is taken from a lost or stolen card, we can replace the card, but not the SNAP money. If any SNAP money is left on your old EBT card, it will automatically transfer to your new EBT card.

We can replace SNAP money that was stolen electronically, due to card cloning or skimming. Apply to replace your stolen SNAP benefits

When your SNAP money will be available

SNAP money gets added to your EBT card on the same day every month.

Based on the first initial of your last name, you will receive your benefit(s) on the following dates:


1st of the month


2nd of the month


3rd of the month

If you are currently receiving cash from us by check or direct deposit, you may continue to do so. SNAP money can only be accessed using the EBT card.

What happens when I don’t use my EBT card?

If you do not use the SNAP money on your EBT card for 274 days, or 9 months, we will take them back. To keep your SNAP money, make sure to use your EBT card at least once every 9 months.

Once SNAP money is removed, they will not be replaced or reinstated.

Check your balance

You can check the balance on your EBT card many ways:

  • From a computer, go to MyAccount at
  • Use the MyDSS Mobile App on your phone or tablet at
  • Call 1-888-328-2666 to hear the last ten (10) transactions on your account
  • Save your store receipt to keep track of your SNAP balance
Buy food online using SNAP

You can use your SNAP money to buy food online for delivery and in-store pickup.

Federal rules do not allow any SNAP money to be used for shipping, delivery or service fees. If you are buying things that are not food or items that are not SNAP approved, you must use another way to pay.

Only SNAP money on EBT cards can be used for online purchases. If you get Cash on your EBT card, it cannot be used for any part of online shopping, including shipping, delivery, or service fees.

Online stores that accept SNAP in CT

Learn more about becoming a store that accepts SNAP EBT online.

Using SNAP at Farmers Markets

Many Farmers' Markets and Farms throughout Connecticut accept SNAP. You can buy locally grown fruits, vegetables and other items allowed by SNAP.

Bring your EBT card to the table with the sign that says "SNAP/EBT accepted here" at participating Farmers' Markets and Farm Stands. The Market Manager will swipe your card for the amount that you want and give you Market Tokens that can be used at all the stands at that market. Some farmers markets will “double the value” of your SNAP money, meaning that for every $1 of SNAP money you have they will give you $2 to spend at the farmers market.

List of participating CT Farmers markets and Farm Stands

Learn more about using SNAP at Farmers Markets

Video:  SNAP at Farmers’ Markets English Version Versión en Español

Video:  Double the Value! 

For up-to-date information on Farmers' Markets, please also visit the Farmers' Market page at the Department of Agriculture's website

For more information on Farmers Markets, please visit Farmer/Producer | Food and Nutrition Service (

If you are Farmers Market or Farm Stand who wants to accept EBT:

Contact Kristin Krawetzky, EBT Supervisor, (860) 424-5756

What happens if I misuse my EBT card

It is a crime to defraud the system or to sell your card and PIN to others. Repeated loss and replacement of your card may result in a special investigation of your case.

Misuse or abuse of your card will result in investigation by State and/or Federal authorities. Documented violations will result in negative actions including:

  • Removal from the program
  • Taking back money you owe by reducing your monthly SNAP money or you paying us back
  • And/or referral for criminal action