Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) provides nutritional resources to families who have lost access to free or reduced-price school meals due to school or childcare closures. Families receive money on a new or existing EBT card to help fill the school and childcare meals gap.
- Q1: What is Pandemic EBT?A1: Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) provides nutritional resources to families who have lost access to free or reduced-price school meals and/or child care meals due to school and child care facility closures or reduced in-person attendance or hours. Families will receive money on a new or existing EBT card to help fill the meals gap. States are in the process of creating plans to implement P-EBT for the 2021-2022 school year.
- Q2: Who is eligible for P-EBT?A2: There are two categories of eligibility.
P-EBT for School-Age Children: All children who would receive free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), if not for a school closure are eligible to receive P-EBT. If your child attends a school that offers free school meals to all students, then you are eligible to receive P-EBT benefits. Families who have lost their job or wages may now be eligible. Learn more on your state’s P-EBT webpage.
- Virtual Learning
- If your child(ren) attends school virtually while still enrolled in a school building in their home school district, they will be eligible to receive P-EBT benefits for school year 2021-2022.
- Hybrid Learning
- If your child(ren) attends school virtually some days and in person other days they will be eligible to receive P-EBT benefits for the days they are attending virtually and cannot receive meals from the school.
- Homeschooled Children
- If your child(ren) is currently homeschooled they are not eligible for P-EBT benefits for school year 2021-2022.
P-EBT for Children Under 6 in Households Receiving SNAP: All children under the age of 6 in households that received SNAP at any time since October 1, 2020 are eligible for P-EBT benefits if they live in or attended child care in an area where one or more schools or child care facilities are closed or operating with reduced attendance or hours. USDA has not approved any plans for childcare students for school year 2021-2022.
- Virtual Learning
- Q3: When will I receive P-EBT benefits?A3: Each state is in the process of creating a plan to implement P-EBT for the 2021-2022 school year. Check your state’s P-EBT website for the latest on P-EBT in your state.
- Q4: How can I receive benefits?A4: Benefits are available for school-age children and children under six years old
P-EBT for School-Age Children:
- Ensure that your child(ren) is approved for Free or Reduced-Price school meals. Contact your school district for an application.
- States are still in the process of developing their plans to distribute benefits for school year 2021-2022. Check your state’s webpage for the status of P-EBT in your state and if there are steps you must take to access the program.
P-EBT for Children Under 6 in Households Receiving SNAP: USDA has not approved any plans for childcare students for school year 2021-2022.
- For many families, states will automatically issue P-EBT Under 6 benefits on an existing or new EBT card with no action needed.
- However, some states might ask families to complete an application. Check your state’s webpage for the status of P-EBT in your state and if there are steps you must take to access P-EBT.
- Q5: Does P-EBT replace grab and go meal sites?A5: P-EBT benefits supplement grab and go student meal sites. They do not replace them. You can find a meal site in your community through USDA’s Meals 4 Kids Site Finder.
- Q6: If my child qualified for P-EBT in the 2019-2020 school year and I did not receive benefits, what should I do?A6: Check your state’s P-EBT website to see how to inquire about missing benefits.
- Q7: Will this affect my ability to receive other benefits?A7: No, it will not.
- Q8: Does this count against me under public charge?A8: No, it does not. Using P-EBT benefits does not impact you or your child’s immigration status. The public charge rule does not apply to P-EBT benefits.
- Q9: Are there other resources available for emergency food access?A9: Feeding America has a food bank finder for immediate access to food.
- Q10: Will there be P-EBT benefits for Summer 2022?A10: If your state has an approved P-EBT plan for School Year 2021-2022 they are eligible to submit plans for summer benefits in 2022. Check your state’s webpage to see if your state is able to participate.
- Q11: If my child attends a virtual academy run by someone other than my school district, do they qualify for P-EBT benefits?A11: Currently, USDA is not allowing any student attending a virtual academy to receive benefits. A student must be enrolled in a home school building (not just district), that is eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program to be eligible. If you are unsure if your student is in a virtual school that qualifies, contact your school.
Pandemic EBT: Recommendations for a Permanent Nationwide Summer EBT Program
FRAC’s latest report, Pandemic EBT: Recommendations for a Permanent Nationwide Summer EBT Program, identifies best practices to ensure that children have access to nutrition benefits during the summer.