HHSC gives SNAP food benefits and TANF cash help payments through the Lone Star Card. It is a plastic card that is used like a debit card to pay for items.
If your card is lost or stolen, or if you forgot your PIN (password), call us as soon as you can at 1-800-777-7328 (toll-free).
SNAP — (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - formerly the Food Stamp Program) is food benefits.
TANF — (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) is cash benefits.
What is the Lone Star Card?
HHSC gives food (SNAP) and cash (TANF) benefits through the Lone Star Card. This is a plastic card that is used like a debit card. Each month, your approved monthly benefit amount is placed in the card's account.
How do I get a Lone Star Card?
You first have to apply and get approved for SNAP or TANF benefits. After you are approved, we will give you a card to use.
To learn how to apply for benefits, visit YourTexasBenefits.com.
What number do I call if I have questions about my Lone Star Card?
Call the Lone Star Card Help Desk at 1-800-777-7328.
If you have a hearing or speech disability, call 7-1-1 or any relay service.
What number do I call if I have questions about my application or benefit amount?
Call your local HHSC benefits office or 2-1-1.
Can I let someone else use my Lone Star Card to buy items for me?
No. You are the only person who is allowed to use your card and PIN (password). It is illegal to let someone else use your card or benefits.
Can someone else get a Lone Star Card so they can buy items for me?
If you need someone else to help you buy things, you can ask for a second card to give to someone you trust. That person will need to create a PIN (password) for the second card. The money that person spends on the second card will come out of your Lone Star Card account.
You are the only person who can use your card and PIN. The person with the second card is the only person who can use the second card and PIN. It is illegal to let someone else use your card.
How do I start using my Lone Star Card?
Before you can use your card, you must:
- Activate your card.
Call 1-800-777-7328 to activate your card.
- Pick or change your PIN.
- You need 4 numbers for your PIN.
- Pick numbers that are easy for you to remember, but hard for others to guess.
- If you already have a Lone Star Card PIN, you can keep it or change it.
*NOTE: Do NOT write your PIN on your Lone Star Card.
Do NOT keep your PIN with your Lone Star Card.
- Sign the back of your card.
- You can't use your card until you sign it.
When can I start using my Lone Star Card?
You can use your card as soon as you have your PIN and your benefits are in your account. To make sure benefits are in your account, call 1-800-777-7328.
When are SNAP food benefits put into my account?
SNAP benefits will be put into your account once a month. The last number in your SNAP EDG (Eligibility Determination Group) number tells what day you get your benefits.
You can find this number on the form we sent you telling you that you can get SNAP benefits. If you can't find it, call us at 1-800-777-7328. We can tell you when you will get your benefit amount each month.
|If your SNAP EDG number ends in||You will get your benefits on the|
When are TANF cash benefits put into my account?
TANF benefits will be put into your account once a month. The last number in your TANF EDG (Eligibility Determination Group) number tells what day you get your benefits.
You can find this number on the form we sent you telling you that you get TANF benefits. If you can't find your form, call us at 1-800-777-7328. We can tell you when you will get your benefit amount each month.
|If your TANF EDG number ends in||You will get your benefits on the|
|0, 1, 2, 3||1st|
|4, 5, 6||2nd|
|7, 8, 9||3rd|
What can I buy with my Lone Star Card?
If you get SNAP food benefits:
You can buy food, seeds or plants to grow food.
You can't use SNAP to buy alcoholic drinks, tobacco products, hot food, or any food sold to eat in the store. You also can't use SNAP to buy items that are not food, such as pet food, soap, paper products, medicines, vitamins, supplies for the home, grooming items and cosmetics. You can't use SNAP to pay for deposits on refundable containers.
To learn more, visit the USDA's SNAP website.
If you get TANF benefits:
You can use TANF to buy food and other items such as clothes, housing, furniture, transportation, laundry, medical supplies, and supplies for the home. You can use TANF to get cash from a store (there might be a fee when getting cash). If you use TANF to get cash, some stores let you take out only a certain amount at one time.
The following chart provides more about fees stores can charge:
|Using SNAP to buy items||No fee|
|Using TANF to buy items||No fee|
|Getting cash back when using TANF to buy items||No fee|
|Taking $49 or less out of your TANF account||No fee|
|Taking $50 or more out of your TANF account||Two free per month, then 50 cents each|
You can't use TANF to buy things such as alcoholic drinks, tobacco items, lottery tickets, adult entertainment, guns ammunition, bingo, and illegal drugs.
Where can I use my Lone Star Card?
You can use your card at any store that has a Lone Star Card sign. If you don't see it, ask a store worker.
This is what the Lone Star Card sign looks like (English/Spanish):
Most large and medium-sized chain stores and many smaller stores that sell food items take the Lone Star Card. Find a store near you that takes SNAP.
How do I buy food and items with my Lone Star Card?
- Swipe your card in the store's payment machine.
- Pick "EBT".
- Enter your PIN (the cashier cannot enter your PIN for you; never give your PIN to anyone).
- Keep the receipt - it shows the amount left on your card.
How can I check my balance?
Your last receipt will show your balance.
To find out how much is in your account, you can:
- Call 1-800-777-7328;
- Check your receipt after buying something; or
- Check your balance at the store before buying anything, if the store allows you to do so.
How do I report something wrong on my account?
Call 1-800-777-7328 and let us know.
Always get your receipt from the store clerk and keep it. If you think there is an error on your Lone Star Card account, call 1-800-777-7328. You must let us know within 90 days from the date the error was made. If you report an error, we will send a letter telling you what action we took on your account.
What if my Lone Star Card is lost, stolen or doesn't work?
Call us right away at 1-800-777-7328.
Your card will be "frozen". This means that no one - not even you - can use your card.
If you need a new card, we will mail you one. You'll get it in about a week.
If someone steals your benefits before you call us at 1-800-777-7328, you lose those benefits. Someone can steal your benefits if they have your card and know your PIN (password).
What if I forget my Lone Star Card PIN (password)?
Call us right away at 1-800-777-7328.
You can pick your new PIN by calling any time, day or night.
Getting a new PIN makes the old one not work anymore. If you are unable to pick a PIN by phone, you can ask us to send you a new PIN in the mail. You'll get it in about a week.
What if I need help or the store's machine isn't working?
If you need help, give the cashier your card and tell them which account to charge (SNAP or TANF).
Do not give your PIN to the cashier - never give your PIN to anyone.
What if I don't use all my benefits in one month?
You won't lose your benefits if you don't use them all in one month. Benefits that you don't use stay in your account for a year from the date they are put into your account. The next time benefits are put into your account, they are added to what is still in there.
What if I need to use my benefits outside of Texas?
Call your local HHSC benefits office before you leave Texas. Let the worker know you will need to use your card outside of Texas.
Take your Lone Star Card with you.
If you get SNAP benefits:
You should be able to use your card at stores that take food benefits in other states. If it doesn't work, call 1-800-777-7328.
To find a store in another state that takes food benefits, you can:
- Find a store locater on the FNS website; or
- Look for a sign in the store's window or door that says they take food benefits; or
- Call us at 1-800-777-7328.
If you get TANF benefits:
You should be able to use your card at stores that accept cash benefits in other states.
To be safe, withdraw your money from your cash account before you leave.
Before shopping at a store, find out if the store charges a fee and how much they charge.
If your card doesn't work, call 1-800-777-7328.
How do I report a store or person that I think is misusing food or cash benefits (committing fraud)?
Misusing benefits on purpose is a federal crime.
If you misuse benefits, your benefits can be taken away.
To report a store or person misusing benefits, call 1-800-436-6184.