How to Apply for the Access Card in Pennsylvania for EBT Food Benefits

how to apply for debit card

In the state of Pennsylvania, eligible families and individuals can receive the Pennsylvania Access Card, an EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer), or food stamp card. When the card is used at approved grocery stores, the amount is automatically deducted from the monthly allowance.

These cards can be used at any store that displays the "Pennsylvania Access" sticker in their storefront. When making purchases, use your card like a debit card, enter your unique PIN number afterward. On your receipt, the remaining balance for that month will be stated.

Collect the following Information:

  • Household income from a job, child support, and other income
  • Social Security Numbers and birth dates of household members
  • Current or recent health insurance information
  • Current car insurance information
  • Housing and utility expense information
  • Resource information, such as bank accounts, vehicles, homes, property, life insurance, etc.
Note: Some health and human services, to include LIHEAP, do not need resource information. Resource questions will only be asked if this information is needed to see if the applicant(s) is eligible.
  • Proof of citizenship and identity if you are a US citizen.

    Example: Birth Certificate; Driver's License; State ID

  • How to Apply In Person:

    Locate your local County Assistance Office using this directory.

    How to Apply Online:

    1. First, determine if you are eligible using the PA Compass Screening Tool .
    2. You

      can apply online using the PA Compass Website.

    3. After applying, you'll receive instructions to show up for an appointment at your local county assistance office.
    4. After you have submitted your application, you can check the status online as well.

    Remember to bring:

    • Proof of citizenship, or an alien registration card
    • Proof of all income
    • Social Security Card
    • Birth Certificate
    • Proof of housing (rent/mortgage) costs
    • Proof of utility costs
    • Proof of medical costs if aged 60 or older, or if disabled
    • Proof of disability (if applicable)
    • Proof of child support (if applicable)

    If you have any questions, you can call 1-800-692-7462 or visit the Pennsylvania Food Stamps website.

    In addition to your Pennsylvania State Benefits, you may also consider local food pantries. You can usually find these through a church or community organization. Angel Food Ministries is a privately-run nationwide food assistance program does not have any minimum income restrictions, where you can get a box of groceries for around $30.00

    What are the income qualifications?

    Your eligibility for Pennsylvania Food Assistance benefits depends on your income, your household size, rent, utility payments, your current assets and other factors.

    The table below shows the maximum income allowed to qualify, as well as the maximum amount of food stamp benefits that could be available to use on your Pennsylvania Access Card:

    Household Size


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