Lone Star Card

The Lone Star card is used by the Texas Health and Human Services to administer two important public welfare programs: the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP” – better known as the Food Stamp program) and the Temporary Aid to Needy Families (“TANF”) program.  Both of these programs require the use of an Electronic Benefit Transfer (“EBT”) card, which is a recent technological innovation used to better administer both of these important general welfare programs.

How To Apply For a Lone Star Card

There are several steps you should take before you take the time and make the effort to apply for an EBT Lone Star card.  First, you need to familiarize yourself with both the TANF and SNAP food stamps program requirements.  Both of these welfare programs are based upon the income your household earns.  However, these two programs calculate “income” differently and have different income levels you must have in order to receive any benefits from them.

After you have determined that you will qualify, you need to complete either a TANF or SNAP application.  The Texas Health and Human Services offers applications through its website.  You can also call a dedicated hotline set aside for both programs to speak with a Health and Human Services representative and submit an application through the phone or physically go to a Health and Human Services office to submit an application in person.

After your application has been approved (this can take, at a minimum, several days and potentially several weeks) you can arrange to pick up your Lone Star card either through the mail or by going to a Health and Human Services office in person.

How the Lone Star Card Works

The Lone Star card works almost identical to a traditional debit card.  You should sign the back of the card and remember the Personal Identification Number (“PIN”) you submit in your TANF or SNAP application.  The card can be used anywhere traditional debit cards are used.  Be aware, however, that there are some limitations with where and how the funds you receive through either of these programs can be spent.  For example, tobacco and alcohol cannot be purchased with SNAP funds.  There are less restrictions with the TANF program, but there are some cash limits on how much money you can receive when you ask for cash back during a purchase at a store (currently it is fixed at $50 per day but this is always subject to change).

Source: hhsc.state.tx.us/providers/lonestar/EBT/EBThowto.html

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