(Last Updated On: January 22, 2019)
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly the Food Stamps Program, helps low-income families buy the food they need for good health. The Illinois EBT Card, also called the Illinois Link Card, is managed by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and administered by the Illinois Department of Human Resources. This post outlines the different ways you can check the balance on your Illinois Link Card.
Before we go over the different ways by which you can get the balance on your Illinois EBT Card, we first want to review the list of eligible items you can buy with your EBT card.
This is essential because of the recent increase in food stamps fraud crackdown by the United States Department of Agriculture, Federal and Local Law Enforcement.
List of foods you can buy with EBT Card
The items you can buy with your card is governed by The Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 which defines eligible food as any food or food product for home consumption. This also includes seeds and plants which produce food for consumption by SNAP households.
You are allowed to use your Illinois Link Card to buy foods that your household will eat, including the following :
- breads and cereals
- fruits and vegetables
- meats, fish and poultry; and
- dairy products
- Seeds and plants to produce food for the household to eat
- Soft drinks, candy, cookies, snack crackers, and ice cream
- Seafood, steak, and bakery cakes
- Energy drinks that have a nutrition facts label
- Energy drinks that have a supplement facts label are classified by the FDA as supplements and are therefore not eligible
Now that you know what you can buy with your EBT card, here is the list of things you CANNOT buy with the card:
- Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco
- Any nonfood items, such as pet foods, soaps, paper products, diapers, and household supplies
- Vitamins and medicines
- Food that will be eaten in the store
- Hot foods
- Live animals
Illinois EBT Card Balance
There are 3 ways to check the balance on your Illinois Link Card:
Option 1 – Check Your Last Receipt:
The easiest way to check the balance on your Illinois Link Card is by locating your last transaction receipt. The remaining available EBT balance on your Illinois Link Card can be located at the bottom left of your receipt.
It is important to keep your transaction receipts for this reason.
Option 2 – Contact the Illinois Link Card Help Line:
If you do not have your last transaction receipt, your second option for checking the balance on your EBT Card is to call the Illinois Link Help Line. The helpline is toll-free and can be reached at 1-800-678-LINK (5465) or 1-877-765-3459.
Make sure you have your EBT card number available, your balance will be provided as soon as it’s entered.
Option 3 – Visit the Illinois Link Card Website:
Your third option for checking the balance on your Illinois EBT Card is to visit the Illinois Link Card website.
You will be asked your social security number, date of birth, pin and/or card number before you can log into your Illinois Link Card Account. Once you are logged in, you will have access to your balance information, as well as, transaction history.
If you have any trouble doing so, do not hesitate to contact the Illinois Link Help Line.
Below is the Illinois Link Card Website including the information required for accessing your Link Card account:
Illinois EBT Card Balance Check
You can also retrieve your balance at an ATM using a balance inquiry; however, you may be charged a fee for doing so.
Popular EBT Store Questions
Here are some popular questions about places that accept EBT we think you will find useful:
- Can I use my EBT Card at Trader Joe’s?
- Can I use my EBT Card at Sam’s Club?
- Can I use my EBT Card at 7-Eleven?
- Can I use my EBT Card at Costco?
- Can I use my EBT Card at Whole Foods?
EBT Fraud Crackdown
During the last few months, we have seen some high profile cases of federal law enforcement crackdown on food stamps fraud. Some of them have made national headlines, including the two videos below.
Be sure you know what you can and cannot buy with your card. It is also illegal to sell your food stamps benefits for cash or accept non-approved items in exchange for your food stamps.
We hope this post was helpful to you. If you have any questions regarding your Illinois EBT card, please leave it comments section below. We love to hear from you!