Georgia distributes benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to state residents who need help buying groceries. SNAP used to be known as the Federal Food Stamp Program because benefits were issued in the form of paper stamps, but all SNAP benefits are now accessed through Electronic Benefit Transfer cards. EBT cards work much like bank cards, so any money left in the account at the end of the month remains in the account to be used when needed.
Using the EBT Card
You can apply for SNAP online or by filling out an application form. When you are approved for SNAP benefits, the state of Georgia will mail you an EBT card so you can buy groceries with any funds in the account. The amount you receive will vary depending on your income, assets and the number of people in your household, based on guidelines set by the United States Department of Agriculture.Once you have an EBT card with available SNAP funds, you can use it to buy food at any store that accepts EBT. EBT cards can only be used to buy food for people, not pet food or any non-food groceries such as paper towels.
Funds are deposited into your SNAP account once a month. The date varies based on the case number, but will always be between the 4th and the 18th. Georgia's Division of Family and Children Services provides an EBT Issuance Table to help people figure out when they will receive their benefits. If you lose your eligibility in the program for any reason, the state will stop depositing funds into your SNAP account. However, you are allowed to use up any remaining funds you still have on the card.
Checking Your Account
You can check how much you currently have available on your EBT card by visiting the Georgia COMPASS website. COMPASS stands for Common Point of Access to Social Services, so you can access a number of different social services through the same site. To check your EBT balance, click on MyCOMPASS Account. You will be taken to a log-in screen, which will also give you the option of creating a new account if you have not yet done so. Once you're logged in, you can check your balance.
Although the benefits on your card do roll over from month to month, they can be expunged if you wait too long to use them. If you don't make a single purchase with your EBT card for an entire year, Georgia will start to expunge any funds that have been in your account for more than 365 days, until there are none remaining. If this happens to you, there is no way to get the lost benefits back. However, if you make a purchase before the funds are all gone, you will have another 365 days to use the remainder before more funds are lost.