Government Benefits for Low-Income Individuals: EBT and Medicaid

In this article...
  • EBT and Medicaid are government programs administered to financially needy individuals and families. Learn more about EBT and Medicaid in this Health Advisor article.
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EBT and Medicaid are government programs that provide assistance to low-income individuals and families. Both EBT and Medicaid are administered by each state according to federal regulations. These programs are jointly funded by state and federal governments. Find out more about these programs below.

What Is EBT?

EBT stands for Electronic Benefits Transfer, and it allows individuals enrolled in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP) to pay for food electronically using an EBT debit card. When a SNAP participant shops at a qualified store, funds are debited from their SNAP EBT account to reimburse the store for the purchase. 

EBT is in use in all 50 United States as well as Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam. EBT has been the only way to distribute SNAP benefits since June 2004.

Pandemic EBT (P-EBT)

The P-EBT system is part of the federal government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides benefits to children who would have received free or reduced-price lunches were it not for COVID-19-related closures.

What Is Medicaid?

Medicaid is a health insurance program administered by individual states according to federal government regulations. It is jointly funded by the federal government and state governments. The program provides low-cost or free healthcare to individuals who qualify based on their income levels and other factors. Seniors, adults, kids, pregnant women and people with disabilities are among the more than 75 million Americans enrolled in Medicaid.

EBT and Medicaid

EBT and Medicaid are two of the federal government's major assistance programs developed to help people in need obtain basic healthcare and food. Depending on the state you live in, you may qualify for additional assistance programs, such as overall financial assistance and housing subsidies. 

For more information on government benefits, including assistance for food, healthcare, housing and other forms of financial aid, visit the benefits page or your state's office for EBT, Medicaid and other government benefits.