Activating your EBT Card and Creating a PIN
If your EBT card replaces one that you previously activated, you do not need to activate the card. However, we recommend that you create a new personal identification number (PIN) by contacting DHS’ Card Distribution Company, FIS, at 888-304-9167.
If you have not activated a card on the account, you must activate the card and create a PIN after the card arrives in the mail. To complete this process, call FIS at 888-304-9167 and follow these instructions:
- If the card is issued in your child’s name -- Use all zeros for the child’s social security number (SSN), the child’s date of birth (in format MM/DD/YYYY), and the ZIP code of the family mailing address.
- If the card is issued in your name – Use all zeros for the SSN, the date of birth of the oldest child (MM/DD/YYYY), and the ZIP code of the family mailing address.
- To create your PIN -- Be prepared with a pre-selected four-digit PIN when you call FIS. Keep your PIN secure and never share it with anyone. If you cannot remember it or someone finds out your PIN, call FIS at 888-304-9167 to select a new PIN.
General EBT Card Information
In response to coronavirus (COVID-19), effective April 20, DHS began offering the service of mailing new and replacement EBT cards to customers. Cards are mailed to the customer's address on record with DHS by Fidelity Information Services (FIS) - the District's EBT card distribution company. Customers may expect to receive their EBT card within five to seven days and are not required to visit the EBT Office to receive their card.
Customers without a fixed mailing address may pick up their EBT card at one of the following EBT Card Distribution Centers:
EBT Card Distribution Center at 645 H Street NE
Hours of Operation:
- Monday - Friday, 7:30 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.*
EBT Card Distribution Center: 1649 Good Hope Road SE
Hours of Operation:
- Monday - Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.*
*Hours and days are subject to change.
Activating Your EBT Card
You or an authorized representative may activate the card. An authorized representative is a person you choose to get your benefits for you. To designate an authorized representative, you must submit a written statement to a local DHS Service Center.
To activate your card: call FIS at (888) 304-9167.
You must have the following information ready when calling FIS to activate an EBT card:
- Date of Birth (DOB)
- Last four digits of your Social Security Number (SSN). If you do not have an SSN, or did not provide one at the time of the program application, you may use your zip code.
- A pre-selected personal identification number (PIN)
Keep your PIN secure and never share it with anyone. If you cannot remember your PIN or the number is compromised, call FIS at 888-304-9167 to select a new PIN.
Checking Your Balance
SNAP participants may check the balance of their benefits using the ebtEdge Mobile App available for Apple mobile devices or Android mobile devices, visiting the FIS ebtEdge website, or contacting FIS at (888) 304-9167. Benefit balances are also printed on your store receipt.
Updating Your Mailing Address
Customers may update their mailing address on record with DHS by contacting the Call Center at (202) 727-5355, 7:30 a.m. - 4:45 p.m., Monday - Friday.
Requesting a Replacement EBT Card
Customers should keep their EBT cards secure at all times to ensure it does not get damaged or lost. Replacement EBT card may be requested by calling 888-304-9167. In addition, SNAP and TANF customers may visit one of our EBT Card Distribution Centers, listed above, to request a replacement card in-person.
Protecting Your EBT Benefits & Authorized Use
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits can only be used to purchase food at grocery stores or other authorized retailers or online at Amazon.com. To use SNAP benefits on Amazon, visit www.amazon.com/snap-ebt, and follow the instructions on the screen.
- EBT cards may be used at grocery stores and any authorized retailer.
- If you have cash assistance benefits, you may use those like cash. Cash benefits may be withdrawn from an Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) using an EBT card. Two ATM withdrawals per month are permitted at no charge. Additional ATM withdrawal transactions are 85 cents per transaction.
- View the "Secure Your SNAP Benefits: A Customer Integrity and Fraud Prevention Guide" to learn more about protecting your SNAP benefits.
View and download additional resources and information about EBT Card benefits in translated languages.