What is the Pandemic EBT Program (P-EBT)?

  1. What is the Pandemic EBT Program (P-EBT)?
  2. Who administers the P-EBT Program
  3. Who is eligible for Pandemic EBT?
  4. How does the program work?
  5. What is an EBT card?
  6. How much money will be allotted to my P-EBT card?
  7. How do I apply for P-EBT?
  8. Where do I go for more information?
What is the Pandemic EBT Program (P-EBT)?

Pandemic EBT was recenty expanded to include the cost of meals for younger children in pre-school settings and to children that would normally receive food through a summer feeding program. In addition, the deadline for applying for P-EBT benefits has been extended to July 31, 2020. 

Shelter-in-place orders across Minnesota have kept children away from school for nearly two months. This has been particularly difficult for families who receive free and reduced-price meals every day through the National School Lunch Program. In response, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act authorized the implementation of Pandemic EBT (P-EBT), a federal initiative to provide students age 5-18 (now expanded to children 3-18) who currently receive free and reduced price meals with a replacement food benefit to pay for groceries while schools are closed. This new, temporary program provides a lump sum food benefit to families to replace benefits they would otherwise have received during the school year and now has been expanded to include an additional benefit for children who would have received food through a summer feeding program.

 

Who administers the P-EBT Program

The P-EBT program is being administered by the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

 

Who is eligible for Pandemic EBT?

There are three categories of eligible households:

  1. Families with children between the ages of 3 and 18 as of September 1, 2019 who were receiving SNAP or MFIP benefits as of March 18, 2020.
  2. Families with children between the ages of 3 and 18 as of September 1, 2019 who were eligible to receive free or reduced-price school meals during the school year and are no longer able to access those meals due to school closures. This includes children who were enrolled in elementary, high school and pre-k programs.
  3. Families with children between the ages of 3 and 18 as of September 1, 2019 whose children were attending a Community Eligibility Provision school or Provision 2 school prior to school closures.
How does the program work?

Families in Category 1 (who are receiving SNAP or MFIP benefits) do not need to apply in order to receive P-EBT. These families will receive a one-time P-EBT food benefit that will be loaded onto their existing EBT card automatically. They should see the additional benefit by June 4. 

Families in Categories 2 and 3 will need to apply online (through the Code for America portal) between June 8 and June 30 in order to receive the P-EBT benefit. If determined eligible, these families will receive a P-EBT card in the mail that will need to be activated before the families can use their food benefits. Once activated, families can use their EBT card to purchase foods at approved SNAP retailers. Food benefits will be available for up to 365 days from the date the benefits were issued.

 

What is an EBT card?

EBT stands for Electronic Benefits Transfer card. It works like a debit card and can be used to purchase food at thousands of EBT approved stores, farmer’s markets and retailers in Minnesota. The food benefits on your EBT card are usually available to use for up to 365 days from the date the benefits were issued. The same rules that guide what foods can be purchased with SNAP EBT cards will apply to P-EBT cards. For a list of allowed SNAP purchases, click here.  

 

How much money will be allotted to my P-EBT card?

The P-EBT benefit is $325 per child, which is based on the price of school meals that the child missed due to school closures during the March 18 to June 4 timeframe. That benefit now applies to Pre-K children as well as school aged children. Children who would normally participate in a summer food program will receive an additional $100 per child benefit as well. This additional summer feeding benefit should be added to EBT cards in August.

 

How do I apply for P-EBT?

If you have eligible aged children and are currently receiving a SNAP or MFIP benefit, you do not need to anything. Your P-EBT benefit will be added to your current SNAP EBT card.

If you were a School Meal Program participant before schools were closed or your child attends a CEP school, you will need to complete a short online application through the Code for America portal. The information you provide will be used to determine your eligibility.

Apply at: www.mn.p-ebt.org

 

Where do I go for more information?

The Department of Human Services has established hotlines to answer your questions. The hotlines are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. starting on June 1. If you have questions, you may call 651-431-4050 or 800-657-3698.

You can also find more information on this website under COVID-19 Resources/Nutrition.