California EBT Card [2020 Guide]
If you have a California EBT Card and have questions about your card, you’ve come to the right place.
In this detailed guide, we will tell you everything you need to know about your Golden State Advantage card, including lost card replacement, how to log in online to check your balance, EBT discounts and perk you did not know about, and restaurants that take EBT in California, and much more.
This post on California EBT Card will cover:
- What is California EBT?
- How do I apply for EBT in California?
- What can I buy with California EBT?
- How Do I check my California EBT Card Balance?
- California EBT Deposit Schedule
- Which restaurants take EBT in California?
- California EBT Phone Number
- Is there a California EBT App?
- California EBT Discount and Perks
- Amazon Prime EBT Discount (50% OFF Prime)
- How do I replace my lost California EBT card?
- California EBT FAQs
What is California EBT?
An EBT (electronic benefits transfer) card is a plastic card that acts like a debit card that is used to distribute public assistance benefits.
The California EBT Card, also called the Golden State Advantage card is used for the delivery of benefits such as CalFresh or food stamps (SNAP benefits), California Food Assistance Program benefits, and cash aid benefits (TANF).
Once you are approved for food stamps or one of the programs listed above, you will receive your benefits each month on a California EBT Card or Golden State Advantage card.
How do I apply for EBT in California?
There are three ways to apply for EBT (Calfresh food benefits) in California
You can also apply in person at your local Department of Social Services office (CDSS). For the closest CDSS office near you, click here.
You can also call the Calfresh Information Line (1-877-847-3663) and have an application mailed to you, which you can complete and return it to your local CDSS office.
For more information on California food stamps, eligibility and income limits, click here.
The video below, from The Sacramento County Department of Human Assistance, does an excellent job of explaining the process of applying for Calfresh food stamps benefits in the state of California and how the EBT process works.
What can I buy with California EBT?
Your EBT card works like a debit card. It can be used to purchase food at grocery stores, convenience stores, and some farmers’ markets and co-op food programs.
The USDA, which runs the food stamps program has a strict guide on what you can and cannot buy with SNAP benefits.
Here is the list of food items you are allowed to purchase with your SNAP Benefits card:
- meats, fish, poultry
- deli meats and steak
- dairy products
- seeds and plants that produce food for the household
- soft drinks
- snack crackers
- ice cream
- energy drinks (must have a nutrition label)
- live seafood, such as lobster, fish, and shellfish
- pumpkins (as long as they are edible)
- birthday cakes (the non-edible piece of the cake cannot exceed 50 percent)
- bakery items
Here’s what you CANNOT buy with your SNAP benefits:
- Alcoholic beverages
- tobacco products
- hot food (prepared for immediate consumption)
- Nonfood items
- pet foods
- paper products
- medicines and vitamins
- household supplies
- grooming items
How Do I check my California EBT Card Balance?
Here’s how to check the balance on your Golden State Advantage Card Balance.
Option 1 – Check your Last Receipt
The first option for checking your California EBT Card balance is to check your last receipt. This is the easiest and quickest way to locate the current balance on your California EBT Card.
Your balance will be listed at the bottom of your most recent grocery store or an ATM receipt. You should get in the habit of keeping your most current EBT receipt, that way, you always have a quick way to check your balance before you shop.
Option 2 – Login to Advantage Card Account
The second option for checking your California EBT Card balance is online through the Advantage Card website.
To log in, visit the ebt.ca.gov sign in, then enter your card number. Once logged in, you’ll be able to view your current balance and transaction history. If you do not have an ebtEDGE account, you can create an Advantage Card Account here.
Option 3 – Check by Phone
The last option for checking your California EBT Card balance is by phone. Call the EBT Customer Service number (1-877-328-9677) on the back of your card. The Customer Service Hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
After you call, enter your sixteen (16) digit EBT card number and you will hear your current food assistance or cash account balance(s).
California EBT Deposit Schedule
The California EBT Card, or the Golden State Advantage Card, holds the food assistance benefits assigned to you each month. Your benefits will be deposited onto your EBT card according to the schedule below:
|If your Case Number ends in||Benefits are deposited on the|
|1||1st of the month|
|2||2nd of the month|
|3||3rd of the month|
|4||4th of the month|
|5||5th of the month|
|6||6th of the month|
|7||7th of the month|
|8||8th of the month|
|9||9th of the month|
|0||10th of the month|
Once your benefits are deposited into your account, you can begin using them with your California EBT card to purchase eligible food items. For a full list of approved food items, see the Food Stamps Eligible Food List here.
Which restaurants take EBT in California?
California is one of the states that participate in the Restaurant Meals Program.
The Restaurant Meals Program is a federal program that enables qualified elderly, disabled and homeless food stamps recipients to buy food at authorized restaurants. Any state or county can enroll in the Restaurant Meals Program.
The purpose of the program is to help expand food access to those who do not have a place to store and cook food, who may not be able to prepare food or who don’t have access to a grocery store.
Here are the restaurants in California that accept food stamps as part of the restaurant meals program.
- Burger King
- Carl’s Jr.
- Church’s Chicken
- Del Taco
- Domino’s Pizza
- El Pollo Loco
- Great Steaks
- Jack in the Box
- Jamba Juice
- Papa Murphy’s
- Pizza Hut
- Rally’s Hamburgers
- Taco Bell
Participating Counties: Alameda County, Los Angeles County, Orange County, Riverside County, Sacramento County, San Diego County, San Francisco County, San Luis Obispo County, Santa Clara County, and Santa Cruz County.
California EBT Phone Number
Here’s the number to call if you are trying to reach California EBT Customer Service:
You can call 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week
You can call the California EBT Phone Number if:
- Your card is lost or stolen.
- Your card does not work.
- You want to change your PIN because you forgot it or if
someone else knows your PIN. Your public assistance office
may also be able to help you change your PIN.
- You want to find out how much you have left in your account.
- You have been charged for a purchase but you didn’t get the food or
if you were charged too much for what you bought.
- You have other questions or problems.
How to use your California EBT Card to buy Food
Here are the steps you need to take to use your California EBT Card to purchase food that is on the food stamp list, at approved retail locations.
Before you shop, check your balance using one of the following methods, as explained in detail above:
- By looking at your last receipt
- You can also call Customer Service, toll-free at
- Finally, you can go online to check your balance.
This balance will be the most you can spend with your card.
Here’s how to purchase food with your card.
Take your groceries to the checkout lane.
Depending on the store, you may need to separate
your eligible food items from non-eligible items.
Swipe your card through the Point-of-Sale (POS)
terminal or hand your EBT Card to the clerk.
Enter your four-number Personal Identification
Number (PIN) on the keypad. The terminal will
show **** instead of the numbers you entered.
Press the “ENTER” key.
The clerk enters the purchase amount. If the
amount is correct, you press the “OK” or “YES” key.
You will get a copy of a printed receipt showing:
- Store name and address
- Amount of your purchase
- Your new food stamp benefits account balance
Keep your receipt so you will know your new balance the next time you shop.
Please note that you cannot be charged a fee to use your food stamp benefits.
Is there a California EBT App?
Unfortunately, there is no mobile app created by the state of California for EBT cardholders.
We will make an announcement on this website as soon as one becomes available.
California EBT Discount and Perks
Your California Golden State Advantage EBT Card gives you access to the following discounts, freebies, and perks.
Amazon Prime EBT Discount
If you have a California EBT Card, you can now sign up for Amazon Prime EBT Discount and get all the great benefits that come with Prime membership, at a fraction of the cost.
Amazon wants to make Amazon Prime membership more affordable to low-income households.
The regular Amazon Prime membership is $12.99 a month. However, if you have an EBT Card, you can get Prime Membership for $5.99. That’s over 50% off the regular price.
The table below shows how the EBT and Medicaid discount on Amazon Prime compares to the other Amazon Prime memberships.
|Amazon Prime Membership||Price||Full Prime benefits|
|Amazon Prime month-to-month||$12.99/mo.||✓|
|Amazon Prime annual||$119/yr.||✓|
|Prime Student (monthly)||$6.49/mo.||✓|
|Prime Student (annual)||$59/yr.||✓|
|Amazon Prime EBT/Medicaid cardholders||$5.99/mo. (max. 4 yrs.)||✓|
If you are currently on Food Stamps/EBT Cardholder, and your income is below a certain level, you may qualify for FREE or low-cost home or cell phone service for you or a member of your family through the Federal Lifeline Program, which serves nearly 13 million Americans.
The Lifeline program helps to lower the monthly cost of phone and internet service. Eligible customers will get at least $9.25 toward their monthly bill. You can only use Lifeline for either phone or internet service, but not both.
Discounted Cell Phone Services
Below is a list of cell phone providers that participate in the Lifeline program in the state of California.
|Boomerang Wireless LLC||866-488-8719|
|Air Voice Wireless||888-944-2355|
Discounted Home Phone Services
Below is a list of home phone providers that participate in the Lifeline program in the state of California.
|Sierra Telephone Company, Inc.||877-658-4611|
|Ducor Telephone Company||888-539-5234|
|TDS Telecom/Hornitos Telephone Company||888-225-5837|
|TDS Telecom/Happy Valley Telephone Company||888-225-5837|
|Consolidated Communications of California Company||844-968-7224|
|Pinnacles Telephone Co.||831-389-4500|
|TDS Telecom/Winter Haven Telephone Company||888-225-5837|
|Calaveras Telephone Company||800-253-2511|
|Volcano Telephone Company||888-886-5226|
Free Admission with EBT Program
One of the great benefits of the California EBT Card is access to great tourist, cultural, educational and adventure museums – including zoos, aquariums and many more.
This is under free admission with EBT program, otherwise known as Museum for all.
The California Museums listed below all offer FREE to $3.00 to individuals and families who have an EBT card, and a valid form of photo ID.
The offer covers up to four individuals per EBT card, which means that if you have a family of 4, you can use your California EBT card to get the special discounted rate or the free admission for all four members.
We advise that you call the museum first before you go – so that you can find out what their special rate is for EBT Cardholders (whether it’s free admission or $3).
See the list of California Free Admission with EBT Program sites.
How do I replace my lost California EBT card?
If you just realized your California EBT Card is lost or you simply do not know where it is, you should we can help you get a replacement card.
The first thing you need to do when you realize your Food stamps card is lost, stolen, or not working is to call the California EBT card customer service.
Report a lost, stolen or damaged Golden State Advantage Card
If your card is lost, stolen or damaged call EBT Customer Service at 1-877-328-9677 right away.
Instructions on what to do when you call
First, when you call the customer service number above, you will be asked to enter your card number.
Do not enter your card number or press any keys. You will be asked to enter your card number again.
Again, do not enter your card number or press any keys. You will then be asked to press one to report your card as lost, stolen, or damaged.
Press the 1 key on your phone. Once you report it, your EBT card will be deactivated so that the benefits cannot be used by anyone else.
You should usually receive your new card in the mail within five days (excluding Sundays and holidays).
Call As Soon As Possible
We encourage you to call the customer service number as soon as you can so that your account can be secured, especially if you think the card is stolen.
That way, you don’t risk losing the money currently in the account.
When you call customer service, they will confirm your mailing address before they mail the card to make sure they have the current address on file.
You will be able to use the same pin you used on the previous card unless you decide to select a new pin with the new card.
How long does it take to get a Replacement California EBT Card?
Your replacement card will be mailed to you and it will take 7-10 business days to arrive.
However, unlike getting a credit card or debit card replacement, you cannot get your EBT card expedited or a tracking number for the card.
In addition, there is no option to get a replacement EBT card the same day.
Furthermore, while you wait for your card to arrive, you cannot use your EBT funds. There is no way to manually enter the card number at retail locations and online And even with online shopping on Amazon, you need to enter your card CVV number to complete the transaction.
Therefore, Unfortunately, you have to wait for your card to arrive before you can use the funds in your EBT account.
Replacement Card did not arrive?
If you have requested a replacement California EBT Card and it has not yet arrived in the mail after 5-7 business days, here’s one possible reason.
If you previously changed your address and did not update your EBT account, that is probably the reason your card has not arrived.
That is because your new card is going to be mailed to your old address, and if it is mail that cannot be forwarded, then the card will likely be returned to the card issuer, which means you will have to wait longer to receive the re-issued card, further delaying your ability to be able to buy the food you need.
You can resolve this by calling the California EBT Customer service number and updating your mailing address, so that your new card can be mailed to the correct address.
California EBT FAQs
Here are the most frequently asked questions about California EBT.
I didn’t get my EBT benefits this month
If you did not receive your benefits this month, you should contact your CDSS county public assistance office for help. For the CDSS county office closest to you, click here.
The ATM didn’t give me the money I requested, but it took it from my cash benefits. What do I do?
You should call the EBT Card customer service telephone number at (877) 328-9677.
You will be provided directions for filing a claim.
Note that the bank or ATM owner will not be able to give you the missing cash. You will have to go through the claims process with EBT customer service.
How can I set up or change my EBT card PIN?
To set or change your PIN, call the California EBT Card toll-free customer service telephone number at (877) 328-9677.
You will be able to set up a PIN over the telephone.
In addition, you can also change your PIN at your county’s public assistance office. For the CDSS county office closest to you, click here.
However, when your PIN is changed, you will continue using your current EBT card. A new EBT card is not provided unless specifically requested.
Can I get my California cash benefits sent directly into my checking account?
Yes. you can have your California cash benefits (NOT your food stamps) sent directly to your checking account.
To request this, contact your local CDSS county public assistance office that issues your benefits and ask about direct deposit. With direct deposit, you do not use your EBT card to access your cash benefits.
For the CDSS county office closest to you, click here.
Can I have someone else help me shop using my EBT account?
Yes, you can set up an Authorized Representative (AR) to help you shop with your EBT Card.
However, the AR will have a separate card with his or her own account number and PIN.
The EBT system is able to track which card is used at any time. The AR will have access to your entire benefit account.
Note that it is not possible to limit the AR’s access to a lesser amount.
However, you may choose the account(s) to which the AR has access.
If you don’t want him or her to have access to all of your benefits, it is possible to limit the AR’s access to either your food benefits or cash benefits if you like.
Ask your county caseworker about setting up an Authorized Representative (AR).
Can I use my California EBT card in other counties and other states?
Your California EBT card will work at any store or ATM that displays the Quest symbol in California and the other 49 states in the United States, as well as the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam.
However, if you do not see the Quest symbol, look for a sign that displays EBT, SNAP, or Food Stamps. If you are unsure, ask the store manager.
Currently, California EBT cardholders cannot use their EBT cards in Puerto Rico.
If I don’t use all my California EBT benefits this month, will I lose them?
No. If I don’t use all of the benefits you received this month, they will stay in the EBT account, and you may use these benefits in the following months.
What happens if the ATM does not give back my EBT card?
Occasionally, an ATM will not return your EBT card. In most cases, this occurs when you do not remove your card from the ATM within a certain amount of time.
In some cases, the bank will return your card if you present proper identification.
However, in many cases, the bank will destroy the card even if you request it be returned to you showing proper identification.
If your card cannot be returned, you should request a new card by calling customer service at (877) 328-9677.
California EBT Card Summary
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Be sure to check out our other articles about EBT, including How to get 50% OFF Amazon Prime for EBT Cardholders and Medicaid Cardholders and EBT Discounts and Free Stuff.