EBT Cash Back Rules: Can You Get Cash Back from an EBT Card?

Short Answer: You can only get cash back from your EBT card if you receive cash assistance benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. You cannot get cash back on SNAP benefits. For more information on EBT cash back, see below.

Can You Get Cash Back From an EBT Card?

You cannot get cash back from an EBT card if you only receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits on the card. SNAP is a food assistance program; you can only use it to purchase approved food items.

However, if you are eligible for a cash assistance program, you can get cash back from your EBT card. To find out more about this, we consulted official documentation from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and contacted benefits administrators in several states.

Who Is Eligible for EBT Cash Back?

If you receive cash assistance from a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, you can get cash back from your EBT card. TANF programs are run by the state, and each state’s program operates under one or more different names; see the list under “Qualifying Programs by State” below. Participating families receive monthly deposits of a certain amount (based on income level and household size) to their EBT cards.

Comparison Table: Qualifying Programs by State

The following state programs are TANF programs and allow recipients to get cash back from the funds they receive:

State Cash-Back Eligible Program
Alabama Family Assistance Program (FA)
Alaska Alaska Temporary Assistance Program (ATAP)
Arizona Empower
Arkansas Transition Employee Assistance (TEA)
California California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs)
Colorado Colorado Works
Connecticut Jobs First
Delaware A Better Chance (ABC)
Florida Welfare Transition Program(s)
Georgia TANF
Hawaii TANF
Idaho Temporary Assistance to Families in Idaho (TAFI)
Illinois TANF
Indiana Indiana Manpower Placement and Comprehensive Training (IMPACT), TANF, TANF Work Program
Iowa Family Investment Program (FIP)
Kansas Kansas Works
Kentucky Kentucky Transitional Assistance Program (KTAP)
Louisiana Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP), Strategies to Empower People (STEP)
Maine Additional Support for People in Retraining and Employment (ASPIRE), TANF, TANF Work Program
Maryland Family Investment Program (FIP)
Massachusetts Employment Services Program (ESP), Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC), TANF
Michigan Family Independence Program (FIP)
Minnesota Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP)
Mississippi TANF
Missouri Beyond Welfare
Montana Families Achieving Independence in Montana (FAIM)
Nebraska Employment First
Nevada TANF
New Hampshire Family Assistance Program (FAP), New Hampshire Employment Program (NHEP)
New Jersey Work First New Jersey (WFNJ)
New Mexico NM Works
New York Family Assistance Program (FA)
North Carolina Work First
North Dakota Training, Employment, Education, Management (TEEM)
Ohio Ohio Works First (OWF)
Oklahoma TANF
Oregon Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Program (JOBS)
Pennsylvania TANF
Rhode Island Family Independence Program (FIP)
South Carolina Family Independence
South Dakota TANF
Tennessee Families First
Texas Choices, TANF, Texas Works
Utah Family Employment Program (FEP)
Vermont Aid to Needy Families with Children (ANFC), Reach Up, TANF Work Program
Virginia Virginia Initiative for Employment not Welfare (VIEW)
Washington WorkFirst
Washington, D.C. TANF
West Virginia West Virginia Works
Wisconsin Wisconsin Works (W-2)
Wyoming Personal Opportunities with Employment Responsibility (POWER)

Multi-Program Eligibility

You may qualify for several government assistance programs. If you receive both SNAP and TANF benefits (or any other type of benefit) on your EBT card, note that you can get cash back, but only up to the store’s limit or your available TANF cash balance — not the total card balance.

How to Get EBT Card Cash Back

If you have an active “cash” balance on your EBT card through your state’s TANF program, you can get cash back at the register. When you make a purchase using your TANF balance at a store that accepts EBT cards and allows EBT cash back, you will have the option to receive cash back after swiping your card and entering your pin, just as you would when using a debit card.

Note that cash back limits may vary by state or retailer. Cash back limits at grocery stores, convenience stores, and department stores typically range between $40 – $100; see our list of cash back limits by store.

ATM Withdrawals

You can get cash back at an ATM as long as you have TANF benefits on your EBT card. You can make cash withdrawals at most ATMs nationwide; find a surcharge-free ATM to avoid bank fees. Fees and restrictions on the card itself vary by state. For example, some states allow a limited number of free withdrawals per month, charging around $1 per withdrawal after that; others place limits on the total amount you can withdraw in a day. Check with your benefits administrator for the limits and fees that apply to your card.

Cash Refunds for EBT Purchases

You may be able to receive a cash refund for an item you purchase using your EBT cash balance. You cannot get a cash refund for purchases that use your SNAP benefits.

Individual store policies regarding refunds vary greatly. Some stores only grant refunds in the form of store credit; others will only refund card purchases back to the card. Contact your local store for information about its return and refund policies.

Restrictions

Cash assistance benefits are meant to help families pay bills or purchase items that are not SNAP-eligible, such as toiletries or household cleaning products. It is illegal to use your cash assistance balance on alcohol, tobacco, firearms, ammunition, lottery tickets, jewelry, vacation expenses, tattoos, court-ordered fees/fines, or to purchase entertainment items at rent-to-own stores.

More Information

Find your state’s EBT contact information in our research on lost EBT cards; you can use the same number or online portal that you would use to report a lost card to find out more about your state’s restrictions regarding EBT cash back. Our previous research also features the details on whether your EBT benefits will roll over at the end of the month and when to expect your monthly EBT deposits.