The EDGE/Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) System is a processing system that supports, manages and controls the electronic payment of government benefits for the purchase of food in a retail environment.


San Diego County in partnership with San Bernardino County has been authorized by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) and Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) to implement Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) as the delivery system for CalFresh benefits. This was needed to prevent San Diego County from returning to CalFresh coupons as the CalFresh Cash Out

Demonstration Project waiver had expired and would not be renewed. Access to CalFresh benefits through the EDGE/EBT system began April 1, 1998 and was phased in county-wide by July 1998.



The EDGE/EBT System

·   Distributes benefits to cardholders through point-of-service (POS) devices.

·   Manages the EBT card information for the authorization of transactions and the status of cards.

·   Maintains authorization files of cases, clients and benefits.

·   Provides 24 hours a day, 7 days a week customer service support for cardholders and merchants.

·   Provides on-line access to the authorization database and transaction history files.

·   Reports on and reconciles all financial and maintenance activities.

·   Settles transactions between the County and merchants for benefits they distribute.

·   Provides merchant file management.



Process Overview

·   The district office determines the client's eligibility for benefits.

·   The case and client are added to the EDGE/EBT system database by using the EDGE/EBT Administrative Terminal or batch maintenance process (BDLM) at application.

·   Cards will be issued to the Primary Person and/or the Authorized Representative through the EDGE/EBT Administrative Terminal. Cardholders will then select their Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) using a PIN selection device in the County office after the intake interview.

·   The County sends updated benefit authorizations to the EBT system for the case and client. A batch file, generated from the County's computer, is sent through a file transmission link.

·   Transactions are sent daily when first granted and monthly for ongoing benefits.

·   The cardholder makes a food benefit purchase at a POS device. A POS network is set up for Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) authorized merchants.

·   Merchants review their EBT total receipts at the end of their designated merchant business day.  The EBT System's POS devices provide administrative transactions to report the merchant's POS activity.

·   Cardholders can call an audio response unit (ARU) to check their benefit balance, review their last 10 transactions, or transfer to a Customer Service representative to report their card lost, or stolen. Cardholders can call the toll-free ARU phone number 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Merchants can call an ARU to receive authorization for voucher transactions when the EBT system is down. This toll-free number is also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

·   Merchants, caseworkers, or other County personnel can call the Customer Service Desk (1-888-997-9222) at any time. To speak with a representative, merchants call the toll-free ARU POS Merchant Services number (1-800-831-5235) and select the Help Desk option. The EBT vendor, Deluxe, provides customer service support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer questions or concerns.

·   Money is moved on a daily basis to networks, retailers, and third-party processors to settle transactions performed by cardholders against their EBT account.

·   The EBT System reports all daily activity to the County system. Reports of all maintenance and financial activity are created after the system cutoff time. A file of the daily financial activity is also provided to the County along with other identified reports.

·   Distribution of food benefit funds are drawn against the FNS letter of credit, through the ASAP System, and credited to the designated settlement account.

·   The state transfers funds to its settlement account for EBT.



Toll-Free Customer Service Number

The EBT Customer Service (1-888-997-9222) capability includes:

Changing a card's status.


·   Deactivating a client's/AR’s personal identification number (PIN).

·   Viewing client/cardholder account and card information.

·   Viewing transaction history detail.

·   Providing the client with a copy of their transaction history.


Note: Merchants interested in being authorized as a CalFresh retailer/merchant can be referred to the Los Angeles field office of the Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) at (213) 894-7834 for an application to become an authorized CalFresh merchant. After FNS approves the merchant’s application and provides a CalFresh authorization number, the merchant can contact Deluxe/Bank of America at 1-800-421-1929 (Merchant Customer Service Help Desk) to sign an agreement and obtain a POS device.



Request for Access to the EDGE/EBT System

The following groups have been established for access to the EDGE/EBT system. These groups were developed using input from anticipated users and systems testing. To request access, submit form 05- 7DSS System User ID Record, to Internal Security at mail stop W461 or FAX to (S31) 692-8002, using the group names listed below. Because access to EBT will also require a change to the user

ACF2 security profile, please allow three full days for access activities. Call the Internal Security Help Desk, with questions regarding form 05-7DSS completion.




·   Clerks

This group contains clerical staff who are responsible for completing client/case adds/changes, card issuance, card status, benefit posting activities and reconciliation process.

·   PAFD

This group contains PAFD staff who will complete fraud investigation activities.

·   Fiscal

This group contains Fiscal staff who will complete conversion, repayment and reconciliation activities.

·   EBT Project

This group contains staff involved with the implementation of EBT for troubleshooting activities and monitoring system performance.

Internal Security: This group contains Internal Security staff that will complete user ID security transactions and internal investigation activities.


District managers may request inquiry-only access to the EDGE/EBT system from Internal Security for their Automation Coordinators, Corrective Action Supervisors and Eligibility Supervisors. The system has limited capacity, therefore only those individuals who will use the system on an ongoing basis are to be referred for access.


Supervising and/or Senior Clerks who complete the EBT card/benefit authorization reconciliation process can also be referred for inquiry-only access to the EDGE/EBT system, even if they have PIN access.



Reporting EBT Problems

To assist district staff with equipment, system and customer service problems relating to the EBT system, for 09-74 HHSA EBT Problem Report (Appendix A) has been developed. This form will also help monitor the county’s contract with Deluxe. The form will be completed by the District Automation Coordinator or Supervising Clerk (District Manager option) when system, equipment and/or customer service problems (i.e., district staff cannot get through on an 800 phone number) relating to EBT cannot be resolved in a reasonable/timely or adequate manner. This report form is not to be used for reporting CDS, CalWIN, PC or printer problems.


When reporting unresolved system or equipment problems, as much documentation as possible should be sent with the report. Before submitting an EBT Problem Report, the District Automation Coordinator or Supervising Clerk is to review the EBT Policy and Procedures to ensure that the initial problem was reported for resolution to the appropriate service number. After completing, fax the 09-74 HHSA to              along with documentation to Strategic Planning and Operational Support (SPOS), attention EBT

Program Specialist (PS) and keep the original. The EBT PS will contact the District Automation Coordinator or Supervising clerk to confirm receipt and provide a control number. When the problem is resolved, the EBT PS will complete the resolution section of the report and a copy sent to the District Automation Coordinator or Supervising Clerk. Other sections such as Fiscal, Internal Security and Public

Assistance Information may designate and individual to be responsible for processing the problem report in lieu of an Automation Coordinator or Supervising Clerk.


Note: Complaints from clients or merchants regarding the assistance or lack of assistance from the EBT customer/merchant service number are to be referred directly to the EBT PA. Whenever possible, the name of the customer service staff person is to be obtained and reported. PSPD EBT staff will handle resolution and feedback to the customer or retailer.



Forms and Supplies



·   The IMMN screen/16-17 DSS form will be used by the worker to instruct immediate need staff to issue/status a card, allow the client to select a new PIN, change payee/authorized representative, and issue expedited CalFresh benefits. (See 63-402.3 and .9 for additional instructions).

·   Form 08-40 HHSA will be used by the worker to instruct Fiscal to convert CalFresh benefits on EBT to coupons or use EBT benefits to repay a CalFresh overpayment. (See 63-402.15 & .18 for additional instructions).

·   Form 09-68 DSS EBT Responsibility Statement (Appendix B) will be signed by each primary person and other spouse/parent/adult who is issued an EBT card. An Authorized Representative will not complete this form (See 63-402.3 for additional instructions).

·   Form 09-22 HHSA Household Request for Authorized Representative will be completed by the client to approve an AR. Only one AR can be identified on the EBT system.  (See 63-402.3 and .6 for additional instructions).

·   Form 09-45 HHSA Replacement Affidavit/Authorization (Appendix F) will be used to document and authorize the replacement of EBT benefits and/or coupons (see 63-402.13, .21, and .22 for additional information).




·   EBT Card Stock


Districts will order EBT cards through the Fiscal Division in the same manner as warrant stock. The appropriate district staff will call Fiscal at S48-2927 to request a supply. Form 08-30 DSS Request and Receipt for Fiscal Supplies will be completed by Fiscal (See 63-403.12). A supply of EBT card sleeves will be included with the supply of EBT cards.


·   Card Embosser Foil, POS Receipt Tape and Ribbon


Districts will order silver embosser foil for the EBT Data Card Embosser, POS receipt tape and ribbon, and EBT card sleeves by calling the POS Merchant Service at 1-800-831-5235. When districts call the POS to order supplies, the help desk will ask for a location code. This code is to locate the name and address of the office requesting supplies and to automatically generate the order to the shipping department at Deluxe for processing. The following is a list of location codes by district:


El Cajon A409394

Escondido A409407

Kearny Mesa A409412

Center City A409389

Lemon Grove A409427

Metro A409452

Mission Valley A409472

Northeast A409487

Oceanside A409505

South Bay A409525

Southeast A409530


Note: When calling to order supplies, DO NOT respond to any of the messages (including hearing the message in English or Spanish). Wait until almost the end when the message will state, “Thank you for calling the customer service”, THEN PRESS 4 to speak to a customer service representative. This 800 number is also used by retail merchants to order supplies and if the wrong selection is chosen the representatives assumes the caller is a retail merchant.


·   EBT Client Booklet


EBT client booklets will be ordered from Office Services in the same way districts order any other form. EBT booklets are available in English, Spanish, Armenian, Vietnamese, Russian, Chinese, Hmong, Farsi, Laotian, and Cambodian.