The Texas Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system delivers services to food stamp and Temporary Assistance for
Needy Families (TANF) clients of the Texas Health and Human Services
Commission (HHSC). This mission-critical function of the agency provides more than two million Texas
clients with easy access to the benefits they need to enable them to
purchase basic essentials.
Eligibility determination staff in approximately 320 state offices use the EBT
web-based program for Lone Star
cards. Texas clients access their benefits in more than 11,000
participating retail locations across the state. In
FY 2005, more than 108
million food stamp and TANF transactions were processed through the Lone
Star EBT system.
For clients, the process itself is simple. The Lone Star card is scanned/swiped for payment the
same way that a commercial card is scanned/swiped. The
client enters his or her personal identification number (PIN), which
protects the card from use by unauthorized people. The transaction is
carried from the point-of-sale (POS) device through a third-party
processor's network to the EBT host system. The EBT system then locates that
client's benefits and removes an amount equal to the purchase amount from
further access. A response authorizing the purchase is generated and
returned in a matter of seconds.
The purchase amount is processed that night, transferring funds from federal and state
sources to the third-party processors. The processors then transmit payment
to the individual retailers. Quite an improvement over the paper system,
under which payments could take up to six weeks to process!
EBT operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with its primary goal remaining that of
consistent, rapid issuance and safe, simple, continuous access to benefits for Texas citizens.
Additional information about the
history of EBT in Texas is available on this website.