Lone Star FAQs

HHSC gives Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food benefits and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash help payments through the Lone Star Card. It's a plastic card that's used like a debit card to pay for items.

What is the Lone Star Card?

HHSC gives SNAP food benefits and TANF cash benefits through the Lone Star Card. This is a plastic card that's used like a debit card. Each month, your approved monthly benefit amount is placed in the card's account.

How do I get a Lone Star Card?

You must apply and get approved for SNAP or TANF benefits. After you are approved, we will give you a card to use.

To learn how to apply for benefits, visit YourTexasBenefits.com.

What number do I call if I have questions about my Lone Star Card?

Call the Lone Star Card Help Desk at 800-777-7328.

If you have a hearing or speech disability, call 7-1-1 or any relay service.

What number do I call if I have questions about my application or benefit amount?

Call your local 2-1-1 or log into YourTexasBenefits.com.

Can someone else get a Lone Star Card so they can buy items for me?

If you need someone else to help you buy things, you should ask for a second card to give to someone you trust. The money that person spends on the second card will come out of your Lone Star Card account.

You are the only person who can use your card and PIN. The person with the second card is the only person who can use the second card and PIN.

How do I start using my Lone Star Card?

Before you can use your card, you must:

  1. Activate your card.
    Call 800-777-7328 to activate your card.
  2. Pick or change your PIN.
    • You need 4 numbers for your PIN.
    • Pick numbers that are easy for you to remember, but hard for others to guess.
    • If you already have a Lone Star Card PIN, you can keep it or change it.

      *Important: Don't write your PIN on your Lone Star Card.
      Don't keep your PIN with your Lone Star Card.
      Sign the back of your card.

  3. You can't use your card until you sign it.

When can I start using my Lone Star Card?

You can use your card as soon as you have your PIN and your benefits are in your account. To make sure benefits are in your account, call 800-777-7328.

When are SNAP food benefits put into my account?

SNAP benefits will be put into your account once a month. The day you get benefits is printed on your award letter (TF0001).

When are TANF cash benefits put into my account?

TANF benefits will be put into your account once a month. The last number in your TANF Eligibility Determination Group number tells what day you get your benefits.

You can find your EDG number on the TF0001 form we sent you saying that you can get TANF benefits. If you can't find it, call us at 800-777-7328.

When you get your TANF benefits each month
If your TANF EDG number ends in You will get your benefits on the
0, 1, 2, 3 1st
4, 5, 6 2nd
7, 8, 9 3rd

What can I buy with my Lone Star Card?

If you get SNAP food benefits:

You can buy food, seeds and plants to grow food.

You can't use SNAP to buy alcoholic drinks, tobacco products, hot food or any food sold to eat in the store. You also can't use SNAP to buy items that are not food, such as soap, paper products, medicines, vitamins, supplies for the home, grooming items, pet food and cosmetics. You can't use SNAP to pay for deposits on refundable containers.

To learn more, visit the USDA's SNAP website.

If you get TANF benefits:

You can use TANF to buy food and other items such as clothes, housing, furniture, transportation, laundry, medical supplies and supplies for the home.

You can also use TANF to get cash from a store. There might be a fee and some stores only let you take out a certain amount at one time.


Lone Star Card fees
Using SNAP to buy items No fee
Using TANF to buy items No fee
Getting cash back when using TANF to buy items No fee
Taking $49 or less out of your TANF account No fee
Taking $50 or more out of your TANF account Two free per month, then 50 cents each

You can't use TANF to buy things such as alcoholic drinks, tobacco items, lottery tickets, adult entertainment, guns ammunition, bingo and illegal drugs.

Where can I use my Lone Star Card?

You can use your card at any store that has a Lone Star Card sign. If you don't see it, ask a store employee.

This is what the Lone Star Card sign looks like:


Most large and medium-sized chain stores and many smaller stores that sell food items take the Lone Star Card. Find a store near you that takes SNAP.

How do I buy food and items with my Lone Star Card?

  1. Swipe your card in the store's payment machine.
  2. Pick "EBT".
  3. Enter your PIN. The cashier cannot enter your PIN for you. Never give your PIN to anyone.
  4. Keep the receipt — it shows the amount left on your card.

How can I check my balance?

Your last receipt will show your balance.

To find out how much is in your account, you can:

  • Check your balance on the Your Texas Benefits mobile app, YourTexasBenefits.com,  or by calling the Lone Star Helpdesk at 800-777-7328.
  • Check your receipt after buying something.
  • Check your balance at the store before buying anything, if the store allows it.

The app is available to download on Android or Apple devices. If you do not have an account, you can set one up on the app by selecting Set up a new account or by going to YourTexasBenefits.com, clicking "Log in" and then "Create a new account."

Texas HHS does not support using another website or mobile app to check your Lone Star Card balance or review card activity, and doing so could expose you to security or fraud risks.

How do I report something wrong on my account?

Call 800-777-7328 and let us know.

Always get your receipt from the store clerk and keep it. If you think there is an error on your Lone Star Card account, call 800-777-7328. You must let us know within 90 days from the date the error was made. If you report an error, we will send a letter telling you what action we took on your account.

What if my Lone Star Card is lost, stolen or doesn't work?

If you have lost your card, you can freeze and unfreeze it using the Your Texas Benefits app. You can also use the app, or call the Lonestar Card Helpdesk at 800-777-7328, to request a new card if yours is lost, stolen or doesn't work.

After requesting a new card your original card will be canceled. This means that no one — not even you — can use your card.

Your replacement card will be mailed and you should receive it within seven calendar days. Your PIN and balance will transfer to your new card.

If someone steals your benefits before you call us at 800-777-7328, you lose those benefits. Someone can steal your benefits if they have your card and know your PIN.

What if I forget my Lone Star Card PIN?

You can change your PIN with the Your Texas Benefits mobile app or by calling the Lone Star Helpdesk  at 800-777-7328.

Getting a new PIN makes the old one not work anymore. If you are unable to pick a PIN with the app or by phone, you can ask us to send you a new PIN in the mail. You'll get it in about a week.

What if I need help or the store's machine isn't working?

If you need help, give the cashier your card and tell them which account to charge — SNAP or TANF.

Don't give your PIN to the cashier. Never give your PIN to anyone.

What if I don't use all my benefits in one month?

You won't lose your benefits if you don't use them all in one month. Benefits you don't use stay in your account for nine months from the date they are put into your account. The next time benefits are put into your account, they are added to what is still in there.

What if I need to use my benefits outside of Texas?

Take your Lone Star Card with you.

If you are moving out of state or do not intend to return to Texas, you must report your status change within 10 days by calling 2-1-1 or logging into YourTexasBenefits.com.

If you get SNAP benefits:

You should be able to use your card at stores that take food benefits in other states. If it doesn't work, call 800-777-7328.

To find a store in another state that takes food benefits, you can:

If you get TANF benefits:

You should be able to use your card at stores that accept cash benefits in other states.

To be safe, withdraw your money from your cash account before you leave Texas.

Before shopping at a store, find out if the store charges a fee and how much they charge.

If your card doesn't work, call 800-777-7328.

How do I report a store or person that I think is misusing food or cash benefits?

Misusing benefits on purpose is a federal crime.

If you misuse benefits, your benefits can be taken away.

To report a store or person misusing benefits, call the Office of Inspector General at 800-436-6184.