Except as provided in subsection (i), EBT cards shall be issued only to households which have been duly certified as eligible to participate in the supplemental nutrition assistance program.
Benefits issued to eligible households shall be used by them only to purchase food from retail food stores which have been approved for participation in the supplemental nutrition assistance program at prices prevailing in such stores: Provided, That nothing in this chapter shall be construed as authorizing the Secretary to specify the prices at which food may be sold by wholesale food concerns or retail food stores.
EBT cards issued to eligible households shall be simple in design and shall include only such words or illustrations as are required to explain their purpose.
The name of any public official shall not appear on any EBT card.
The Secretary shall prescribe appropriate procedures for the delivery of benefits to benefit issuers and for the subsequent controls to be placed over such benefits by benefit issuers in order to ensure adequate accountability.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the State agency shall be strictly liable to the Secretary for any financial losses involved in the acceptance, storage and issuance of benefits, except that in the case of losses resulting from the issuance and replacement of authorizations for benefits which are sent through the mail, the State agency shall be liable to the Secretary to the extent prescribed in the regulations promulgated by the Secretary.
If the Secretary determines, in consultation with the Inspector General of the Department of Agriculture, that it would improve the integrity of the supplemental nutrition assistance program, the Secretary shall require a State agency to issue or deliver benefits using alternative methods.
Except as provided in subparagraph (B), the Secretary shall require participating retail food stores (including restaurants participating in a State option restaurant program intended to serve the elderly, disabled, and homeless) to pay 100 percent of the costs of acquiring, and arrange for the implementation of, electronic benefit transfer point-of-sale equipment and supplies, including related services.
Nothing in this paragraph permits the charging of fees relating to the redemption of supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits, in accordance with subsection (h)(13).
Effective on the date of enactment of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, no State shall issue any coupon, stamp, certificate, or authorization card to a household that receives supplemental nutrition assistance under this chapter.
Effective beginning on the date that is 1 year after the date of enactment of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, only an EBT card issued under subsection (i) shall be eligible for exchange at any retail food store.
Effective beginning on February 7, 2014, except as provided in subparagraph (B), no State shall issue manual vouchers to a household that receives supplemental nutrition assistance under this chapter or allow retail food stores to accept manual vouchers as payment, unless the Secretary determines that the manual vouchers are necessary, such as in the event of an electronic benefit transfer system failure or a disaster situation.
The Secretary may exempt categories of retail food stores or individual retail food stores from subparagraph (A) based on criteria established by the Secretary.
To enhance the anti-fraud protections of the program, the Secretary shall require all parties providing electronic benefit transfer services to provide for and maintain unique terminal identification number information through the supplemental nutrition assistance program electronic benefit transfer transaction routing system.
Not earlier than 2 years after February 7, 2014, the Secretary shall issue proposed regulations to carry out this paragraph.
In issuing regulations to carry out this paragraph, the Secretary shall consider existing commercial practices for other point-of-sale debit transactions.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a State agency may, with the approval of the Secretary, issue benefits under this chapter to an individual who is ineligible to participate in the supplemental nutrition assistance program solely as a result of section 2015(o)(2) of this title or section 1612 or 1613 of title 8.
Notwithstanding section 3302(b) of title 31, payments received under subparagraph (A) shall be credited to the supplemental nutrition assistance program appropriation account or the account from which the costs were drawn, as appropriate, for the fiscal year in which the payment is received.
To be eligible to issue benefits under this subsection, a State agency shall comply with reporting requirements established by the Secretary to carry out this subsection.
A sanction, disqualification, fine, or other penalty prescribed under Federal law (including sections 2021 and 2024 of this title) shall apply to a violation committed in connection with a benefit issued under this subsection.
Administrative and other costs incurred in issuing a benefit under this subsection shall not be eligible for Federal funding under this chapter.
Section 2025(c) of this title shall not apply to benefits issued under this subsection.
The term “electronic benefit transfer card” means a card that provides benefits under this chapter through an electronic benefit transfer service (as defined in subsection (h)(11)(A)).
The term “electronic benefit transfer contract” means a contract that provides for the issuance, use, or redemption of program benefits in the form of electronic benefit transfer cards.
The term “interoperability” means a system that enables program benefits in the form of an electronic benefit transfer card to be redeemed in any State.
The term “interstate transaction” means a transaction that is initiated in 1 State by the use of an electronic benefit transfer card that is issued in another State.
The term “portability” means a system that enables program benefits in the form of an electronic benefit transfer card to be used in any State by a household to purchase food at a retail food store or wholesale food concern approved under this chapter.
The term “settling” means movement, and reporting such movement, of funds from an electronic benefit transfer card issuer that is located in 1 State to a retail food store, or wholesale food concern, that is located in another State, to accomplish an interstate transaction.
The term “smart card” means an intelligent benefit card described in section 2026(f) of this title.
The term “switching” means the routing of an intrastate or interstate transaction that consists of transmitting the details of a transaction electronically recorded through the use of an electronic benefit transfer card in one State to the issuer of the card that may be in the same or different State.
Not later than October 1, 2002, the Secretary shall ensure that systems that provide for the electronic issuance, use, and redemption of program benefits in the form of electronic benefit transfer cards are interoperable, and supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits are portable, among all States.
The cost of achieving the interoperability and portability required under paragraph (2) shall not be imposed on any retail store, or any wholesale food concern, approved to participate in the supplemental nutrition assistance program.
The Secretary shall allow a State agency that is using smart cards for the delivery of supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits to comply with the requirements of paragraph (2) at such time after October 1, 2002, as the Secretary determines that a practicable technological method is available for interoperability with electronic benefit transfer cards.
The total amount paid to State agencies for each fiscal year under subparagraph (A) shall not exceed $500,000.
Subject to paragraph (4), the Secretary shall approve retail food stores to accept benefits from recipients of supplemental nutrition assistance through on-line transactions.
Each State agency shall ensure that recipients of supplemental nutrition assistance can use benefits on-line as described in this subsection as appropriate.
Before the Secretary authorizes implementation of paragraph (1) in all States, the Secretary shall carry out a number of demonstration projects as determined by the Secretary to test the feasibility of allowing retail food stores to accept benefits through on-line transactions.