580.6 Pennsylvania EBT ACCESS Card

The Pennsylvania EBT ACCESS card is an industry-standard plastic card with a magnetic stripe giving recipients access to cash assistance, SNAP benefits, or Medical Assistance benefits (or any combination of them). Recipients get SNAP benefits electronically through point-of-sale (POS) terminals in authorized food stores. They can get cash assistance through POS terminals and automated teller machines (ATMs). Recipients can 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 card. The PAN numbers are as follows:

580.61 Card Issuance

The CAO must issue the initial EBT ACCESS card to the household member designated as the payment name. Any client other than authorized representatives (ARs), secondary card members, and expedited SNAP recipients may request to have a card issued centrally.

EBT ACCESS cards should be issued centrally except for Expedited SNAP benefits, Authorized Representative cards, secondary cards, emergency situations, or the card is damaged. The CAO must tell the client that it will take seven to ten days to receive a centrally issued EBT ACCESS card. The CAO must use the EBT administrative workstation or a desktop computer to produce recipients’ EBT ACCESS cards. The workstation connects the CAO to the EBT system through the Commonwealth's network. This allows information to be transmitted between the EBT system and CIS and allows the CAO to make inquiries into the EBT system database. (For more information, see the Pennsylvania Electronic Benefit Transfer Xerox AT manual.)

NOTE:  EBT cards may be created locally and mailed to the client from the CAO in the following circumstances:  Expedited SNAP and emergency situations.  

If the recipient is known to CIS, the workstation can produce a card. For new applicants, the CAO must first authorize benefits and CIS must assign a recipient number before an EBT card can be printed. CIS maintains a record of each card the CAO issues. The Xerox database also captures this information.

There are three card-issuance functions:

580.62 EBT Card Types

There are three types of EBT cards:

Issuance of this card establishes the account on the EBT system. The CAO must always issue this card first.

The secondary cardholder must be an authorized and active member of the budget and be 18 years or older. This includes EE members The CAO must explain to the primary cardholder that the secondary cardholder has the same access to benefits as the primary cardholder. The CAO must get the primary cardholder’s approval before issuing the secondary card. The CAO must explain that the primary cardholder is responsible for the issued benefits if there is an overpayment.

This allows a recipient who is unable to use the EBT system because of a disability to designate someone to access benefits. The recipient may authorize access to cash assistance or SNAP benefits or both. (See Chapter 505.)

The CAO may issue no more than two EBT ACCESS cards per household—a primary card and, if it is requested, either a secondary card or an AR card.

580.63 Personal Identification Number (PIN)

After the CAO prints an EBT ACCESS card for the recipient, the recipient must choose a personal identification number (PIN) using the Xerox PIN  select. The PIN is a four-digit code that the cardholder must use to begin a transaction at either a POS or ATM. The PIN is the main means of security for the recipient’s EBT account.

The PIN selection must be confidential. The CAO must provide an area where the recipient can select a PIN without being observed by others.

The CAO must tell the recipient not to reveal the PIN to anyone because doing so would jeopardize the benefits in the account. The CAO must also remind recipients that they have three chances to enter the correct pin when using their 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 selects a new PIN at the CAO or by telephone.

If recipients forget their PINs, they may call the Xerox customer service line at 1-888-328-7366 to select new PINs.

580.64 EBT Card Replacement Policy

DHS issues replacements for lost or stolen cards centrally. A $2.50 card-replacement fee is taken from the client’s account.

The CAO may issue a card locally if the client has an emergency justifying immediate replacement of a lost or stolen card. The executive director or his or her designate must approve the request.

The CAO must replace a client's damaged EBT ACCESS card upon request, without charging a fee.

The CAO must maintain the Daily EBT Card Log for a replacement that is not issued centrally (see Chapter 580, Appendix D).

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

580.641 EBT ACCESS card replacement form

The CAO must complete an EBT Card Request form and get the recipient’s signature on the form. The form must be kept in the case record. (See the sample in Chapter 580, Appendix A.)

The CAO must monitor card replacements when the recipient requests multiple replacements for lost or stolen cards. After three replacements of a lost or stolen card within six months or two or more replacements in one month, the CAO must schedule the recipient for an interview with an OIM supervisor to discuss the recipient’s responsibility to keep the card safe. The OIM supervisor must tell the recipient that illegal use of the card may result in disqualification and that further replacements will result in a referral to the Office of Inspector General (OIG).

The CAO must not deny or delay a recipient's request for replacement of the EBT ACCESS card.

580.642 Referrals to the Office of Inspector General

The CAO must make a referral to the OIG when:

The CAO must send card-replacement forms to the OIG at the address at the bottom of the form. A separate memorandum is not necessary.

For more information on the EBT card replacement process, see the EBT Procedures Manual.

580.643 EBT card replacement fee

NOTE:  Only CAOs and district offices can replace the Pennsylvania EBT ACCESS cards.

The CAO must apply a card-replacement fee as follows:

NOTE:  The EBT system automatically deducts the card-replacement fee from the recipient’s EBT cash assistance or SNAP account. If the recipient has both a cash assistance and a SNAP account balance, the system deducts the $2.50 fee from the cash account. If the cash assistance balance is zero or the recipient has a SNAP-only account, the system deducts the fee from the SNAP account.

NOTE:  The CAO must never collect cash directly from the recipient for the EBT card-replacement fee. It must collect the fee through the EBT account.

NOTE:  If the card-replacement fee is charged in error, the CAO must reimburse the recipient using supplemental benefit reason code 183.

580.65 Card-Issuance Situations and Availability of Benefits

Benefits are available and accessible by recipients on the EBT system when the following conditions are met:

Several situations can happen when the CAO creates EBT accounts and issues EBT ACCESS cards. Each situation has a different effect on the availability of EBT benefits. Here are the situations and effects:

Updated December 21, 2021, replacing April 1, 2019