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EBT Card Benefits for Snap Recipients

After being accepted into the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), applicants will receive their benefits through an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card. SNAP focuses on providing food benefits to individuals and families who cannot afford groceries. Below we have listed several important features EBT card system:

  • Easy EBT Card Activation Process: Beneficiaries will receive their EBT cards in the mail with instructive brochures on how to properly use them. After creating a four-digit personal identification number (PIN), EBT card users must call the customer service number assigned to their state. These cards may also be activated online on most state SNAP portals.
  • SNAP Recipients EBT Card Use: SNAP recipients can swipe their cards at any participating retailer’s point of service (POS) machine to purchase eligible food items.
  • Items SNAP Recipients Can Purchase With EBT Cards: SNAP recipients can use their EBT cards at any participating retailer that displays a QUEST symbol.
  • EBT Card Design: EBT cards are inconspicuous, emulating the design of a regular plastic debit or credit card. Food benefits are electronically distributed the same day every month to a SNAP recipient’s account.
  • EBT Card Protection: In the case of a stolen or lost EBT card, SNAP customer service representatives can freeze the account to prevent unwanted transactions to be made. In the case of lost, damaged or stolen cards, a recipient may receive up to two replacement cards at no charge.
  • Additional Discounts For SNAP EBT Card Recipients: SNAP recipients using EBT cards may be eligible to receive additional benefits provided by third-party companies. These participating services include internet providers, student loan providers, fast food restaurants, power companies, cellular providers and museums, to name a few.
  • EBT Cash Benefits: In addition to food benefits, low-income SNAP recipients may be eligible to receive cash assistance through other welfare programs. These cash benefits are issued onto EBT cards by programs like the Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

Easy Ways to Earn at Home

Whether you are a student, a stay-at-home parent or just in need of some extra money, working from home could be a great solution for you. Working remotely can teach you many things about yourself, which will be useful in your future jobs. So be sure to widen your horizons and to consider all of the options available to you, including those below.

  • Working Freelance: Freelance employees can be paid hourly, per day or per job, and their easy online access lets them work from anywhere in the world. So if you were trained in a specific area, like writing, sales, law, or finance, consider looking into freelance work in that industry.
  • Doing Customer Service: Considering that customer service essentially requires access to a phone and a computer, many customer service representatives work from home. If you have good communication skills and access to a quiet environment to work in, this might be the work-from-home job for you.
  • Opening An At-Home Business: If you’ve ever considered starting your own business, this is one way you can do so and work from the comfort of your own place.
  • Tutoring: If you are knowledgeable about a particular school subject or have a knack for teaching, consider becoming a private tutor. Tutors who have a steady clientele can earn a great deal, and flexibility allows for them to take on other jobs if need be.
  • Renting Out A Room: If you have a spare room you are not using, consider renting it out.
  • Selling What You Don’t Need: Consider looking through your belongings and selling the items you won’t miss online.

First Time Home Buyer Grants

A first-time homebuyer grant helps reduce the initial costs of purchasing a home. Learn about first-time homebuyer grants below, including those available specifically for residents of Virginia.

  • What Are First-Time Homebuyer Grants? A first-time homebuyer grant is a state or city program meant to help residents purchase their very first house. These grant programs help with the cost of the down payment required by mortgage loans.
  • Basic Requirements: Each state has its own specifications that applicants must meet in order to receive a grant.One of the most basic qualifications is first-time homebuyer status. This status is often extended to include individuals who have not purchased a home within the last 3 years. Buyers who fall under this category may qualify for a first-time home buyer grant.
  • Down Payment Assistance Grant: Down Payment Assistance is a program that offers grants to new home buyers in Virginia. A DPA grant helps cover the cost of a down payment for certain VHDA mortgage loans.
  • Other Assistance Programs For Home Buyers: The DPA is not the only home buying program that VHDA offers. Obtaining a Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) allows homebuyers to receive tax credits on their home in many states, including Virginia.
  • Mortgage Credit Certificate: An MCC has the potential to save homeowners a few thousand dollars each year, by applying a portion of the interest rate to their income tax. This credit is equal to 20 percent of the annual mortgage interest rate. Homeowners with an MCC can apply the tax credit every year that they continue to live on the property.
  • Granting Freedom Grant: The Granting Freedom grant program aims to provide assistance to active and veteran service members. In particular, it helps provide the funds needed to modify a home for service-related injuries and disabilities. Eligible individuals are qualified for a grant amount up to $6,000, depending on need.

Tips for Navigating the Health Insurance Marketplace in Virginia

Like most things related to health care, the Virginia Health Insurance Marketplace can be difficult to understand at times. There are Medicaid and CHIP users, Medicare users, and commercial fully insured and commercial self-insured users currently in the Virginia system. The following sections provide a quick overview of the coverage levels available in Virginia to help you decide which coverage level is best for you.

  • Bronze – This level has the lowest monthly premiums, but the highest deductible. This coverage level offers minimal health care coverage and is best suited for those who rarely require medical care beyond basic or emergency treatment.
  • Silver – If you qualify for “extra savings,” you must select Silver coverage or above in order to benefit from this deal. Silver coverage has a moderate deductible and moderate monthly premiums.
  • Gold – Gold level coverage has slightly higher premiums and lower deductibles than Silver level coverage. This coverage level covers more routine care and is best suited for those who need to frequently attend doctor’s visits, as it covers more medical expenses.
  • Platinum – This coverage level has the highest premiums, but the lowest deductibles. It provides near-complete coverage for all medical expenses and is usually well worth the money you invest in it if you need constant medical care.
  • Catastrophic – Catastrophic coverage is only available to individuals under the age of 30 who cannot afford Bronze coverage. This coverage level only covers the bare minimum and will require most of your medical expenses to be paid out of pocket.