503.2 The EBT System

The EBT system replaces "paper" authorization-to-participate (ATP) voucher and coupon-delivery systems. DHS no longer issues ATPs. Banks and other financial businesses no longer issue food coupons.   7 CFR § 274.12

DHS puts the client’s SNAP benefit amount in an EBT account each month on the regular payment date. Household members buy food at authorized stores by swiping their EBT ACCESS cards through card readers at the checkout counter. The point-of-sale (POS) system connects to the EBT system to check the household’s personal identification number (PIN) and to confirm that money is in the account. The EBT system returns an approval code to the POS system and subtracts the amount of purchase from the household’s account. The store gets its payment within two business days. There are no minimum dollar amounts or transaction fees.

 7 CFR § 274.12(f)

Benefits may accumulate in the account. However, if there is no debit activity for 180 days, the EBT system returns the benefits to DHS and suspends the SNAP case. The household may ask for a replacement of the returned benefits up to one year from the original issue date.   

 7 CFR § 274.12(f)(7)(i)

The household may access benefits on the account only with a valid PA EBT ACCESS card. If the household cannot use the EBT system because of a disability, it may choose an authorized representative (AR) to get benefits. The AR receives a separate PA EBT ACCESS card and PIN. See Chapter 505, Authorized Representative.

503.21 Lost, Stolen, or Damaged ACCESS Cards

The CAO replaces lost or damaged ACCESS cards. The CAO must replace the card within five calendar days.  

After the first free replacement of a lost or stolen card, the CAO deducts a $2.50 fee to replace any future lost or stolen cards. There is no fee to replace a damaged card that is returned to the CAO.

 7 CFR § 274.12(f)(5)(ii)

Reissued March 1, 2012, replacing October 25, 2008