XI. Manual Voucher Processing Procedures
When to Process a Manual Voucher
A retailer will use the manual transaction process when electronic authorization for an EBT SNAP benefit transaction is not available. For example, a retailer may process a manual transaction if:
a) POS equipment is not functioning
b) The host computer is down and cannot accept communication from the retailer’s POS device or TPP
c) The retailer is a non-electronic retailer
d) Telephone line is out of service
When the system or the equipment is not working, retailers can still conduct SNAP benefit transactions. Retailers must properly complete a manual voucher, including the EBT cardholder’s signature on the manual voucher.
The EBT cardholder’s signature is substituted for the cardholder’s PIN. A retailer must always obtain an approval number from the Retailer Customer Service Call Center prior to dispensing the purchased goods. This approval confirms the availability of funds and places a hold on the EBT cardholder’s funds for the approved amount. The retailer must record the approval number on the manual voucher.
Retailers may use cellular telephones to call for authorization if regular telephones are not available.
Retailers receive credit for manual voucher transactions by performing a POS Manual Voucher Clear transaction. Once the POS device is working or the system is available, the retailer must complete a Manual Voucher Clear transaction on the POS device to complete the transaction. If a Manual Voucher Clear transaction is not processed, the retailer will not be paid for the food items sold. Retailers processing out-of-state manual vouchers should call the Retailer Customer Service Call Center telephone number on the back of the EBT card for authorization. If the Retailer Customer Service Call Center telephone number does not appear on the back of the EBT card, the retailer should call the Cardholder Customer Service telephone number located on the back of the EBT card to obtain the Retailer Customer Service Call Center telephone number for that State.
Retailers must properly complete a manual voucher, including the EBT cardholder’s signature on the manual voucher. The EBT cardholder’s signature is substituted for the cardholder’s PIN. A retailer must always obtain an approval number from the Retailer Customer Service Call Center prior to handing over the purchased goods. This approval confirms the availability of the funds and places a hold on the EBT cardholder’s funds for the approved dollar amount. The retailer must record the approval number on the manual voucher.
Manual Voucher Description
Conduent issues manual vouchers for use in processing EBT SNAP benefit transactions. Retailers may only use manual vouchers for SNAP benefit purchase or return transactions.
There is no cost to EBT-only retailers for manual vouchers. A sample manual voucher and instructions on completing the required information follow. Manual vouchers may not always look exactly the same, although they contain the same information:
Fill in the form as follows:
1. Print the cardholder’s EBT card number.
2. Print the EBT cardholder’s name.
3. Print the store name.
4. Print the store address.
*5. Print *city, state and zip code.
*6. Check (√*) reason for using manual voucher.
7. Print your seven-digit FNS authorization number.
8. Print the amount of the transaction. Retailer cannot alter this amount after the approval call.
9. Check (√) type of transaction.
10. Call the Retailer Customer Service Call Center for manual voucher authorization number.
11. Print the manual voucher approval number here. This is the received from the ARU or Customer Service Representative (CSR).
12. Cardholder signs here. Only authorized persons may sign the voucher.
13. Retailer (checker or front-end supervisor) signs the manual voucher.
14. Print the date of the transaction.
15. Give a copy of voucher to cardholder. Give the cardholder the top (white) copy of the voucher and keep the bottom (buff) copy for your records. Federal Regulations require that copies be kept for three years.
Completing a Manual Voucher Transaction
Retailers must perform a Manual Voucher Clear transaction when the EBT system becomes available. This initiates the ACH payment.
The manual voucher must clear within the state-specified number of days after the date of telephone authorization. If the retailer does not clear the manual voucher within the state specified number of days after receiving telephone authorization, the authorization number expires. If a Manual Voucher Clear transaction is not processed, the retailer will not be paid for the food items sold.
The EBT system will not release funds to the retailer’s financial institution until the retailer performs a Manual Voucher Clear transaction on a POS device.
If the retailer does not complete the manual voucher properly, the retailer cannot use it in the future as a document of evidence to settle potential disputes with the EBT cardholder or Conduent.
Conduent provides the initial supply of manual vouchers with the EBT store signage. Retailers must use an original manual voucher form; therefore, a retailer should ensure there are a sufficient number of manual vouchers available at the retail location. Retailers may not use photocopies of manual vouchers. Retailers must call the Retailer Customer Service Call Center to receive more vouchers. Voucher supplies are provided free of charge to the retailer.
Processing a Manual EBT Transaction
Retailers should follow the procedures outlined below when processing a manual EBT transaction.
Step 1: Calculate the amount of the sale and ask the EBT cardholder to present his/her EBT card.
Step 2: Complete all sections of the manual voucher except for the authorization number, the amount, and the signatures. Complete the authorization number, authorized transaction amount, and the signatures after the telephone call to the Retailer Customer Service Call Center.
Have the total amount of the purchase available before calling the Retailer Customer Service Call Center. The caller must provide the ARU or the CSR with the exact dollar amount of the purchase or refund.
Step 3: Place the telephone call to the Retailer Customer Service Call Center. The ARU prompts the caller to enter the following information on the telephone keypad:
- Retailer’s FNS Authorization Number
- EBT Card Number
- Transaction Type
- Exact Amount of the Transaction
- Voucher Number
If the retailer needs additional assistance, he/she can speak with a Customer Service Representative (CSR).
Step 4A: If the purchase is approved, write the authorization number on the manual voucher, fill in the exact authorized purchase amount, obtain the cardholder’s signature, and ensure that the cashier signs the voucher. Be sure to fill in all blanks and make certain all signatures are on the voucher.
Step 4B: If the transaction is denied, the retailer cannot finish completing the manual voucher. If the purchase is denied because of Non- Sufficient Funds (NSF), the retailer should request assistancefrom a CSR. The CSR will provide directions for completing the purchase.
There are two options:
- The EBT cardholder can pay the difference between the amount of the purchase and the amount available in the SNAP benefit account; or
- the EBT cardholder can reduce the amount of the purchase to a total equal to or less than the account balance.
The total purchase amount on the manual voucher cannot exceed the amount of benefits available in the EBT cardholder SNAP benefit account.
Step 5: Give the EBT cardholder the top (white) copy of the manual voucher. The second copy of the manual voucher is the retailer’s copy.
Step 6: Retailers should complete a Manual Voucher Clear Transaction when the EBT equipment becomes operational.
Note: Retailers are urged to keep their copy of the manual voucher for six (6) months.
• Retailer must complete the manual voucher and obtain the EBT cardholder’s signature and the cashier’s signature at the time of the sale.
• Retailer must call the Retailer Customer Service Call Center for an authorization number. The voucher cannot be paid without an authorization number.
• The retailer must clear manual vouchers within the state specified number of days on his/**her POS equipment or the retailer will not be reimbursed.
Declared Emergency Authorization
In the event the host system is not working to issue authorization numbers and an emergency has been declared by the state agency, a message is placed on the ARU to inform retailers of the situation. In this limited circumstance, retailers are reimbursed for a manual voucher transaction without an authorization number. The ARU message informs the retailer of the amount per sale that is authorized. Retailers are not reimbursed for manual voucher transactions that are over the authorization amount.