Electronic Benefits Transfer or EBT is a method of electronic payment that lets Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants use their SNAP benefits to pay for food. It is the sole legitimate method of SNAP issuance across all states since June 2004.
SNAP participants who shop at authorized retail stores will have their SNAP EBT accounts debited as reimbursement to the store for the food they purchased. Currently, EBT is used in all 50 states, as well as Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia.
Federal rules dictate that a household’s resources and income must meet the following criteria to be eligible for benefits:
- Gross Monthly Income: A household’s income must be at 130 percent or below the poverty line, before applying any of the program’s deductions. For example:
- For a family of three, 130 percent of the poverty line is $2,353 a month/ $28,200 a year if computed using the value $1,810 a month (the poverty line used to calculate SNAP benefits in 2021).
By principle, the poverty level is lower for smaller households and higher for bigger households.
- Net Income: A household’s income after the program’s deductions are applied, must be at or below the poverty line.
- Assets: Assets must fall below the following limits:
- $2,500 or less for households who do not have elderly or disabled members
- $3,500 or less for households who have an elderly or disabled member
A ‘household’ under SNAP guidelines consists of people who live in the same residence and purchase/prepare food together.
As for income, SNAP counts cash income from the following sources:
- Earned Income (before deduction of payroll taxes)
- Unearned Income
- Cash Assistance
- Social Security
- Unemployment Insurance
- Child Support
‘Assets’ under SNAP refers to resources that are available to each household so that they can purchase food, like money in bank accounts. Examples of items that do not count as assets are:
- Inaccessible items:
- The Household’s Home
- Personal Property
- Retirement Savings
Ultimately, states have the power to relax asset limits. Most states already do this.
As part of a pilot run by the USDA, Amazon accepts SNAP funds as payment. Currently, this is applicable in all states except:
If you’re a customer with a valid SNAP EBT card, you can technically use your SNAP funds on Amazon in all states except the ones above. However, the USDA and Amazon are currently expanding SNAP EBT coverage, so this may change.
Here are some other pointers for using your SNAP EBT card on Amazon:
- SNAP participants must qualify every 12 months. You just have to verify your eligibility to the program with Amazon. The steps for verification will be discussed in the next section.
- Qualified SNAP participants get a discount on Amazon Prime. The discounted rate is just $5.99 per month. (The full price is $12.99 per month.)
- Amazon Prime members who are also SNAP participants are entitled to the following:
- Free two-day delivery
- Exclusive deals
- Discounts on diapers
- Discounts on baby food
- Access to thousands of TV shows, movies, and music for streaming or offline downloads
- Unlimited access to over 1000 Kindle books
How Do I Get an Amazon Prime EBT Discount?
To verify your eligibility for SNAP EBT discount, simply provide the following:
- Your EBT number
- Uploaded image of your EBT card
Here are the steps to qualify:
- Visit amazon.com/qualify.
- Click ‘Get Started.’
- Follow the instructions that will appear on-screen to verify your EBT card.
- After verification, you will now be able to receive an Amazon Prime discount.
Take note that you do not necessarily need a Prime membership to use your SNAP EBT card on Amazon. You can access Amazon Fresh in all states except Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, and Montana.
You can also purchase groceries from Amazon.com with your SNAP EBT. To sign up to use SNAP EBT benefits on Amazon, visit www.amazon.com/snap and follow the instructions on-screen.
Frequently Asked Questions
The USDA has ‘special SNAP rules for households with elderly or disabled members.’ Otherwise, SNAP qualification is decided per household size. Technically, if you live with other people but purchase your food separately, you should still qualify for SNAP benefits. Check out this resource to see those who do not qualify as separate households under SNAP.
The image of your EBT card must be clear and the following information should be legible:
- The date of issue (Must be within the last 12 months)
- Expiry date (Must show that the card is still valid)
- The name of the beneficiary
You need to reverify your eligibility every 12 months. You are entitled to the Amazon Prime EBT discount for up to four years. You will receive a reminder via email when it’s time to reverify your document.
Amazon offers SNAP EBT acceptance in most states. Customers can purchase SNAP-eligible groceries on Amazon Fresh and Amazon Grocery. SNAP participants can also qualify for Amazon Prime at 50% off on membership fees.