Lone Star EBT Payment Card for Food Stamps

The Texas Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system uses a magnetic-stripe based plastic card, known as Lone Star Card. This card can be used like a standard debit card to pay for food benefits for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and cash assistance for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Benefits for participants of these programs are loaded to Texas Lone Star EBT card each month on a pre-determined date. The card is protected by a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to ensure that only cardholder can use it.

Why Use Texas Lone Star Card (EBT)

The Texas EBT Lone Star Card offers various advantages over the old paper system of delivering benefits to recipients. SNAP and TANF benefits in Texas are transferred to participants using EBT system.

Using Texas EBT Lone Star Card means added convenience to use your benefits. With 320 state offices and web-based administrative system means you can always seek help when needed. Participants can access their benefits through EBT system using more than 16,000 locations.

The EBT system is available 24/7 to ensure that participants can use their benefits whenever they want, without being restricted to office hours only.

The Texas EBT Lone Star Card is secure and transactions are rapid. This means that participants can quickly access their benefits and take out cash in case of cash aid.

What you should know about the Lone Star EBT card?

The Texas EBT Lone Star Card is continually expanding. As of now, it is covering SNAP and TANF programs but WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) and Medicaid are also using similar solution by offering a ‘smart card’ to recipients, which is a version of Lone Star EBT card.

It is important that you don’t give your card to anyone else to use. You are the only person who is authorized to use the card. If you can’t use your card due to sickness or disability, you should apply for a second card for the person that you want to help you use benefits. The second card, just like the original card, can only be used by the person for whom it was issued.

When you use your EBT card, you will receive a receipt of transaction. This receipt will contain all the information about last transaction. You can also see updated balance on the receipt. You should keep it safe so that you can see the balance on it before performing next transaction.

For more information on Lone Star Card and EBT system, you can call at 1 800 777 7EBT. You can call from Monday through Friday during office hours. If you are hearing impaired, you can call at 1 877 765 3458. For Relay Texas, call at 1 800 735 2989. Alternatively, you can visit your local retailer office and ask questions that you have about EBT system in Texas.

How to use your Lone Star EBT card

When you buy food using your SNAP benefits or use cash aid for buying approved TANF items, you can use your Texas Lone Star EBT card. To use your card, you just need to swipe it and provide the secret PIN. The payment will be automatically subtracted to your card and you will receive a receipt with updated balance.

To start using your card, follow these quick steps.

  • When you receive your card, put your signature on the back of card.

  • Once signed, you will need to register your card to start using it for payments. You can register by calling at 1 800 777 7328. However, cards picked up at HHSC office are already registered but you will still need to call 1 800 777 7328 in order to setup a secret PIN to secure the card.

  • After your card is registered and you have setup a PIN code, you can swipe it at Point-of-Sale machine. When you use your card, the EBT system automatically checks your balance, pays the outstanding amount, and updates the card at the same time.

  • You will receive a receipt of transaction when it’s complete. You should keep the receipt for your record as well as for knowing balance when you use your card again.

Remember, you are the only person authorized to use your EBT card. Don’t give out your PIN or the card itself to anyone else.

Depending on the nature of approved benefits, you can use your EBT card to buy food, including seeds and other food approved by U.S. Department of Agriculture. However, it is illegal to use your EBT card to purchase beer, cigarettes, alcohol, wine, non-food items, food meant to be consumed inside the store, hot foods, and medicines. You can use this link to find out SNAP retailers who accept Texas Lone Star EBT card.

The Texas Lone Star EBT card is also issued to participants of TANF program who can use their card to pay for TANF-approved items such as food, clothes, furniture, mortgage, phone bills, laundry, supplies for the house.

If you have questions about EBT system or how to use your Lone Star Card, just call local HHSC benefits office or call 2-1-1.

How to keep your Texas Lone Star EBT card safe

When you receive your Texas Lone Star EBT card, it becomes your responsibility to keep it safe. You should keep the card in a safe place and setup a unique PIN code that only you know. Here are some additional suggestions that can help you to keep your Lone Star Card safe.

  • When entering your PIN to pay for transactions, you should ensure that no one is watching you. If you are a store where other people are standing around, be sure to cover the keypad while entering PIN code so that no one can see the numbers you entered.

  • Never write down your PIN on the card.

  • Never keep the PIN and the card at the same place even if you have to write PIN somewhere to remember it.

  • Never give your PIN to anyone, not even your family members.

  • Never bend or scratch your card. It may destroy the chip, rendering the card unusable.

How to apply for a Texas Lone Star EBT card

If you want to receive a Texas Lone Star EBT card, you will have to qualify for SNAP and/or TANF. You can learn more about applying for benefits in Texas by visiting this link.

You can apply for benefits online by visiting Your Texas benefits website (http://yourtexasbenefits.hhsc.state.tx.us/). The website provides a one-stop solution for applying to public assistance programs in the state of Texas.