Can You Use California Ebt Cards In Other States?

For Californians enrolled in food assistance programs like CalFresh or welfare services like CalWORKs, the California Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card is a lifeline. This debit card allows access to critical aid for food, cash, and more. But can California EBT cards be used if you travel or move out of state?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Yes, California EBT cards can be used in every U.S. state and territory. Thanks to a nationwide EBT system, cardholders can make purchases at authorized retailers wherever they may be.

Understanding California EBT Cards

Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) is a system that allows eligible individuals and families to receive government assistance benefits in the form of a debit card. In California, the EBT program is known as CalFresh and is administered by the California Department of Social Services.

CalFresh benefits are intended to help low-income households purchase nutritious food and improve their overall well-being.

What California EBT Covers

California EBT cards can be used to purchase a variety of food items, including fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meat, poultry, fish, bread, and cereal. In addition to food items, EBT cards can also be used to purchase seeds and plants that produce food for the household.

However, it’s important to note that EBT benefits cannot be used to buy non-food items such as alcohol, tobacco, pet food, or hot prepared foods.

Where You Can Use an EBT Card

California EBT cards can be used at most grocery stores, supermarkets, and farmers’ markets across the state. Many major retailers, including Walmart, Target, and Costco, also accept EBT cards. To find a list of authorized retailers, recipients can visit the official California EBT website or contact their local county social services office.

It’s worth mentioning that California EBT cards can also be used in other states that participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This means that if you are traveling or temporarily living in another state, you can still use your California EBT card to purchase eligible food items.

However, it’s essential to check with the specific state’s SNAP program to ensure that they accept out-of-state EBT cards.

EBT Purchase Restrictions

While EBT cards provide valuable assistance to those in need, there are some restrictions on what can be purchased. Recipients cannot use EBT benefits to buy alcohol, tobacco, vitamins, medicines, or non-food items.

Additionally, EBT cards cannot be used to pay for services such as restaurant meals, transportation, or household supplies. It’s important to remember that using EBT benefits for unauthorized purchases is considered fraud and can result in penalties and disqualification from the program.

For more information on the California EBT program and its usage guidelines, individuals can visit the official California EBT website at

Using EBT in Other States and Territories

Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards have made it easier for individuals and families to access government assistance programs. In California, the EBT card is issued to eligible recipients and allows them to purchase food items and other necessities at authorized retailers.

But what happens when you travel to other states or territories? Can you use your California EBT card there? Let’s find out.

Nationwide EBT Network

One of the great advantages of the EBT system is its nationwide network. This means that your California EBT card can be used in other states and territories that participate in the program. So, if you’re planning a trip or moving to another state temporarily, you can still use your EBT card to buy eligible items.

It’s important to note that not all stores accept EBT cards, even if they are located in states that participate in the program. To find retailers that accept EBT in other states, you can use the retailer locator provided by the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service.

Simply enter the zip code or city of your destination, and the locator will provide a list of approved retailers in that area.

Out-of-State Restrictions and Limits

While you can use your California EBT card in other states, it’s important to be aware of any restrictions or limits that may apply. Each state has its own rules and regulations regarding EBT usage, so it’s essential to familiarize yourself with them before making purchases.

For example, some states may have restrictions on purchasing certain items, such as hot foods or prepared meals. Additionally, there may be limits on the amount of cash you can withdraw from an ATM using your EBT card.

These restrictions are in place to ensure that the benefits are being used appropriately and for their intended purpose.

To find specific information about EBT restrictions and limits in a particular state or territory, you can visit their official website or contact their EBT customer service. They will be able to provide you with the most up-to-date information and answer any questions you may have.

Contacting California EBT Customer Service

If you have any questions or concerns about using your California EBT card in other states or territories, you can contact the California EBT customer service. They have a dedicated helpline to assist cardholders with their inquiries.

You can find the contact information on the official California EBT website.

Remember, it’s always a good idea to plan ahead and familiarize yourself with the EBT rules and regulations of the state or territory you’ll be visiting. This will help ensure a smooth and hassle-free shopping experience while you’re away from home.

Tips for Traveling with California EBT

Traveling with your California EBT card can be a convenient way to access benefits while on the go. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your card while traveling:

Notify Your Eligibility Worker

Before you embark on your trip, it’s important to notify your eligibility worker about your travel plans. They can provide you with important information about using your EBT card in other states and ensure that your benefits will continue uninterrupted.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so make sure to inform them ahead of time.

Look for Participating Retailers

While California EBT cards can be used in other states, it’s important to note that not all retailers accept EBT. Before you travel, do some research and find out which retailers in your destination state accept EBT. This will help you plan your meals and grocery shopping accordingly.

You can check the USDA’s website for a list of participating retailers in different states.

For example, if you are traveling to New York, you can visit to find retailers that accept EBT in the state. This way, you can ensure that you have access to the food you need during your trip.

Check Your Balance Frequently

While on the road, it’s important to keep track of your EBT balance to avoid any surprises. Most states, including California, have online portals or mobile apps where you can check your EBT balance. Make it a habit to check your balance frequently so that you can plan your purchases accordingly.

By staying aware of your balance, you can avoid running out of funds while traveling and ensure that you can make the most of your benefits throughout your trip.

Traveling with your California EBT card can be a convenient way to access benefits even when you’re not in your home state. By following these tips, you can make sure that you have a smooth and hassle-free experience using your EBT card while traveling.

Moving Out of State with California EBT

If you currently receive benefits through the California EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) program and are planning to move out of state, there are a few things you need to know. While EBT cards are generally not transferable between states, it is still possible to receive benefits in your new state of residence.

Here are some important points to consider:

Applying for Benefits in Your New State

Once you have established your new residency, you will need to apply for benefits in your new state. Each state has its own eligibility requirements and application process, so it is important to familiarize yourself with the specific rules and regulations of your new state’s EBT program.

You can usually find this information on the official website of your new state’s Department of Social Services or equivalent agency.

It is worth noting that the eligibility criteria for EBT benefits can vary from state to state. Therefore, even if you were eligible for benefits in California, you may need to meet different qualifications in your new state.

Be sure to gather all the necessary documentation and information required for the application process to ensure a smooth transition.

Change of Address Reporting

When you move out of state, it is crucial to report your change of address to the California EBT program. This will help ensure that your benefits are properly discontinued in California and prevent any potential issues or delays in receiving benefits in your new state.

You can usually update your address online or by contacting the California EBT customer service helpline.

Additionally, you will need to provide your new address to your new state’s EBT program. This can usually be done during the application process or by contacting the appropriate agency. Reporting your change of address promptly will help to avoid any disruptions in your benefits.

EBT Card Expiration

While you cannot use your California EBT card in another state, it is important to note that your benefits do not automatically expire when you move. As long as you qualify for benefits in your new state and have successfully applied, you will receive a new EBT card specific to that state.

However, it is important to be aware of the expiration date of your California EBT card. EBT cards typically have an expiration date printed on them, and it is essential to apply for benefits in your new state before your California card expires.

This will help ensure a seamless transition and prevent any interruptions in receiving your benefits.

Remember, it is always best to research the specific rules and requirements of your new state’s EBT program to ensure a smooth transition. You can find more information about EBT programs in different states on the official website of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) at

The Future of EBT Card Use Across State Lines

Proposed Federal Legislation

The issue of whether California EBT cards can be used in other states has been a topic of discussion and debate. Recently, there have been proposed federal legislations aimed at addressing this issue. These proposed legislations seek to establish a uniform policy that would allow EBT cardholders to use their cards across state lines, regardless of their state of residence.

This would greatly benefit individuals who frequently travel or move between states, ensuring that they have access to essential food assistance programs no matter where they are.

State Participation in Data Sharing

Another factor that impacts the use of EBT cards across state lines is the participation of states in data sharing. Currently, each state manages its own EBT program and has its own rules and regulations. This can create barriers for individuals who want to use their EBT cards in other states.

However, some states have started to implement data sharing agreements, which allow for the exchange of information between states. This enables EBT cardholders to access their benefits when they are out of state.

It is encouraging to see more states recognizing the importance of data sharing and working towards creating a more seamless experience for EBT cardholders.

EBT Technology Upgrades

Advancements in technology have also played a significant role in shaping the future of EBT card use across state lines. As technology continues to evolve, so does the capability of EBT systems. Many states are investing in upgrading their EBT technology to allow for increased interoperability with other states’ systems.

This means that in the near future, EBT cardholders may be able to use their cards in any state that has implemented compatible technology. These upgrades will not only enhance the convenience for EBT cardholders but also streamline the administration of food assistance programs.


In summary, EBT cards issued in California can be used to purchase eligible food and goods when traveling anywhere in the U.S. and its territories thanks to nationwide EBT acceptance. While state-specific rules and limits apply, the interoperable EBT system allows cardholders to access benefits while on the go. With proper planning and communication, California EBT users can seamlessly tap into assistance when crossing state lines.

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