Understanding EBT, SNAP, EBT Cash Benefits, and P-EBT

The US government has a system called EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) to provide benefits to individuals and families who qualify for different assistance programs. There are various types of EBT programs, including SNAP, EBT cash benefits, and P-EBT.


  • EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) - is a system used by the US government to provide benefits to individuals and families who qualify for assistance programs. There are different EBT programs, including SNAP, EBT cash benefits, and P-EBT.


  • SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) - is a federal program that provides food assistance to low-income individuals and families. SNAP benefits are distributed through EBT cards, which can be used at participating retailers to buy eligible food items.


  • EBT cash benefits - are a type of government assistance program that provides eligible individuals or families with financial support to purchase basic needs such as food, housing, and other necessities. TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) is one such program that provides cash benefits. Other examples of programs that provide EBT cash benefits are General Assistance (GA) and Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA).


  • P-EBT (Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer) - is a temporary program introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to provide food assistance to families with children who were unable to access free or reduced-price meals at school due to school closures or remote learning. P-EBT benefits are distributed through EBT cards and can be used to purchase eligible food items at participating retailers.


All these programs use EBT cards to distribute benefits, but each one serves a different purpose and has different eligibility criteria. SNAP provides food assistance, EBT cash benefits assist with financial hardship, and P-EBT is a temporary program for families with children who have been affected by the pandemic.


It is essential to understand that the eligibility criteria, the amount of benefits, and the details of programs can differ from one state and program to another. Those who wish to gather more information about these programs and their eligibility may get in touch with their state's Department of Social Services or explore the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service website:

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