180.7 Pennsylvania EBT ACCESS Card

The PA EBT ACCESS card is an industry-standard plastic card with a magnetic strip. It provides recipients access to Cash Assistance, SNAP and Medical Assistance benefits. Recipients access their SNAP benefits electronically through point-of-sale (POS) terminals in authorized food stores. They can access their Cash Assistance through POS terminals and automated teller machines (ATMs). Recipients verify their eligibility for Medical Assistance through the online Eligibility Verification System (EVS)

The Primary Account Number (PAN) is the 19-digit number printed on the front of the EBT ACCESS card.  It is also encoded on the magnetic strip on the back of the card.

·        The first 6 digits (600760) are the bank identification number (BIN) that identifies the card as Pennsylvania EBT.

·  The next 9 digits are the eCIS individual recipient number.

·        The 16th digit is the validation digit for the recipient number.

·        The 17th and 18th digits equal the card number which shows on the Individual Pennsylvania ACCESS Card (IPAC).

·        The last digit is the validation digit for the PAN.

180.71 Card Issuance

The CAO must issue a PA EBT ACCESS card to the household member who is designated as the payment name for the budget group. Provide the payment name the brochure Electronic Benefits Transfer:  How to Use Your EBT Card.  The CAO clerical worker can use the EBT administrative workstation on their desktop computer to produce the recipient’s EBT ACCESS cards. The workstation connects the CAO to the EBT system through the commonwealth’s network. This network allows information to transmit between the EBT system and CIS. It also permits the CAO to perform inquiries into the EBT system database. (For more information, see the Pennsylvania Electronic Benefits Transfer Conduent AT manual.)

The workstation can produce a card for any recipient known to CIS. Before an EBT card can be printed for new applicants, the case must be authorized and a recipient number assigned. CIS keeps a record of each card issued by the CAO.

There are three card issuance functions:

·        Issuance of a primary card;

·        Issuance of a card to a secondary cardholder or authorized representative;

·        Issuance of a replacement card.

180.72 EBT Card Types

There are three types of EBT cards:

·        Primary EBT card

This card has the identifying logo “ACCESS” for the payment name. This card establishes the account and the payment name on the EBT system. Always issue this card first.

·        Secondary card

This card has the identifying logo ACCESS.” It is for another adult in the household. The secondary cardholder must be an authorized member of the budget group and an adult (18 or older). This includes EE members. The secondary cardholder has the same access to benefits as the primary cardholder. Therefore, the primary cardholder must be advised of this condition and must agree to the issuance of a secondary card. The primary cardholder is responsible for the benefits that are issued if there is an overpayment.

·        Authorized representative (AR) card

This card has the identifying logo “ACCESS.”  It allows a recipient who is unable to use the EBT system because of disability to designate an individual to access the benefits. The recipient may authorize the AR to access cash or SNAP benefits or both. Both names appear on the EBT Card.

The CAO may issue either a secondary or authorized representative card if requested by the primary cardholder.

180.73 Pinning the EBT ACCESS Card

After the CAO prints an EBT ACCESS card, the recipient must choose a personal identification number (PIN) using the PIN Select Device The PIN is a four-digit code the cardholder must use to initiate a transaction at either a POS or ATM. This process is the primary means of security for the recipient’s EBT account.

NOTE: If the individual is receiving his first EBT ACCESS Card, the card will not work until they have selected a PIN.

Newly issued first-time cards may be pinned either at the CAO or using the Conduent Customer Service Line, the benefit does not need to post prior to PIN selection. PIN selection is confidential. The caseworker should explain that there are several ways an individual may select a PIN. A recipient may select their PIN by:

·        Visiting the CAO in person;

·   Calling the Conduent Customer Service Line at 1-888-328-7366, entering the 19-digit EBT ACCESS Card number and choosing the “PIN Selection” option;

NOTE: To use the Conduent Customer Service Line, the benefit does not need to post prior to PIN selection.

·    Visiting the Conduent website at  www.ebt.acs-inc.com

NOTE: This site is only for changing an existing PIN.

·  If the client is unsure whether benefits have been issued, he or she should contact the caseworker. The Conduent website www.ebt.acs-inc.com also has the issuance schedule posted. Once the client logs onto the site, the issuance schedule can be found on the lower left hand side.

NOTE: Recipients with a 000-00-0000 Social security number must have the their card pinned at the CAO using the PIN Select Device.

If the recipient chooses to select their PIN at the CAO, the CAO must provide an area where the recipient may select the PIN without being observed by others. The CAO worker puts the card into the  PIN Select Device and allows the recipient to choose the new PIN. The CAO must be sure that staff members who print the cards have separate responsibilities from those who operate the  PIN Select Device.

Tell the recipient not to reveal their PIN to anyone because that would put his or her benefits that are in the account in danger. Remind the recipient that he or she has three chances to enter the correct PIN when using the EBT card for a purchase. After three wrong tries, the EBT system locks the card and prevents any transactions until the next day unless the recipient repins the card at the CAO.

A recipient who forgets their PIN must contact the CAO to arrange to choose a new PIN. The CAO must respond on the same day, if possible, so recipients may regain access to their benefits. The recipient must return to the CAO to re-pin the EBT card.

Using their card number and PIN, recipients may also change their PIN by logging on to the  Xerox website at www.ebt.acs-inc.com.

180.74 EBT Card-Replacement Policy

DHS issues replacements for lost or stolen cards centrally. If an exception is approved by the Exeucutive Director (ED) or the designee, a local card can be issued.   A $2.50 card-replacement fee is taken from the client’s account. The CAO must replace a client's damaged EBT ACCESS card upon request, without charging a fee.

The CAO must replace EBT ACCESS cards within two business days following the household’s replacement request. If a recipient wants to have the card replaced through the CAO, he or she may begin the replacement process by either notifying the CAO by telephone or visiting the CAO in person. Telephone notification is used mainly for lost or stolen cards. This timeframe applies to both open and closed cases.

NOTE Even though the case may be closed, the recipient needs the replacement card to access benefits remaining in the account.

The CAO must verify the recipient’s identity before issuing a replacement EBT ACCESS card. See Chapter 120 and Chapter 178

Any CAO or district office that has an EBT administrative workstation may issue a replacement EBT ACCESS card if the recipient shows proper identification.

The card will not work until the recipient chooses a four-digit PIN.

180.741 EBT card-replacement fee

Only the CAOs and district offices may replace the Pennsylvania EBT ACCESS cards.

There is no cost to replace the EBT ACCESS card for recipients who reapply for cash or SNAP benefits after a break in eligibility.

There is no cost to replace any damaged or defective card if the recipient returns it to the CAO. The Pennsylvania ACCESS card can be authorized with no fee.

There is no cost to replace cards issued to authorized representatives.

The CAO must allow one replacement per payment name at no cost for cards lost or stolen during the period that the EBT account remains active.

The CAO or district office must apply a card replacement fee as follows:

·        Charge a $2.50 replacement fee for all other lost or stolen cards that are replaced.

·        The EBT system automatically deducts the card replacement fee from the recipient’s EBT cash or SNAP account. This is a function of the card replacement process. If the recipient has both a cash and SNAP account balance, the system deducts the $2.50 fee from the cash account. If the cash account balance is zero or the recipient only has a SNAP account, the system deducts the fee from the SNAP account.

NOTE: Never collect cash from recipients for the card replacement fees.

·        Use the override choice to waive the fee when there is no replacement charge as described above. Waive the fee in exceptional circumstances or in cases with insufficient funds in the account and the recipient needs the replacement card to access medical services.

NOTE: If the card-replacement fee is charged in error, the CAO may reimburse the recipient by processing a CAO issuance transaction using reason code 183.

180.75 Card Issuance Scenarios and Availability of Benefits

Benefits are available and accessible to recipients on the EBT system if the following three conditions are met:

·        First, there must be an active EBT card.

·        Second, the recipient must enter a PIN on the Conduent PIN device or PIN using the IVR script.

·        Third, the authorized benefits are posted to the EBT account.

Several scenarios may occur when the CAO establishes EBT accounts and produces EBT ACCESS cards. Each scenario has a different effect on the availability of EBT benefits:

·        The CAO authorizes the benefit, issues the EBT card, and the recipient pins the card, all on the same day. The benefit is available at 6 a.m. the next calendar day. 

·        The CAO authorizes the benefit on the first day, but the recipient does not get the card and PIN until the second day. The benefit is available after midnight on the third day. 

·        If the CAO replaces an EBT card with benefits already in the account, the benefits are available as soon as the recipient pins the new card. If a card is replaced for an active account with a zero balance, the benefits are available after 6 a.m. on the benefit issuance date for that recipient.

·        The recipient repins an existing card. The benefits are available immediately after the card is pinned. The repinning also removes the block that results from three incorrect pin entries.

Revised June 30, 2020; Replacing March 9, 2019