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How Do I Get a California EBT Card?

The Golden State Advantage (GSA) card is what people in California call Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. This is how people in California can get things like food stamps and other services from the state. The cards are in place so that the benefits aren’t spent on things like cigarettes and alcohol.

You can get a card by calling 1-877-847-3663, going to your local county office, or applying online at

What are the Eligibility Criteria?

The state of California wants to know how many people live in your household and how much money you make. Both parts work together in the sense that the income needs to be below a certain level for the size of the household.

To figure this out, you add up all of your sources of income for a month, like Social Security payments and wages, and then divide that number by the number of people who live in your home. After you figure out your gross monthly income, you need to figure out your net monthly income. This is the same thing. California has a detailed list of all the deductions that Californians who apply for the program can get.

If both your gross income and your net income are less than 200 and 100 percent of the federal poverty level, you can get an EBT card.

If you think you might be eligible, you should apply. You can do so here for free.

How Do EBT Cards Work?

People who get SNAP benefits will get a card that works like a debit card and can be used to buy food. The card system took the place of the old food stamps that were printed on colored paper. It can be used at ATMs and point-of-sale (POS) terminals.

EBT is mostly used to give out SNAP benefits, and since 2004, it has been the only way for people to get help. The card means that the person who gets it can only use it to buy certain kinds of food. This keeps fraud and other types of bad money management from happening.

EBT is also used (or being tested for use) for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF), and other more general assistance programs in some states.

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