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Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) Supplemental Payments

Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (P.L. 116-127) the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) approved the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) to provide households with children eligible for free and reduced-priced meals under the National School Lunch Program (NLSP) or the School Breakfast Program (SBP) with P-EBT benefits due to the COVID-19 outbreak and related school closures. DHS will work with the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to identify eligible children and issue P-EBT.

Benefits will be provided to all eligible children whether or not they currently receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. This is meant to ensure that all children who would normally receive meals at school do not go hungry while schools are closed.

The benefit amount is $5.70 per school day per child through the average end of the school year, covering the weekdays the child missed due to school closures. The benefit period for which P-EBT benefits can be issued is March 16, 2020 to June 12, 2020, as schools were closed statewide on March 16, 2020. June 12, 2020 is the date at which over half of the affected children would have started summer break and has been selected as the best average end date of school for determining the benefit amounts.

The total number of days for which a child can receive benefits is based on the child's eligibility start date for NSLP or SBP. P-EBT benefits will be issued as a One Time Issuance (OTI) for a pre-determined number of days based on when the child became eligible for NSLP or SBP. These days are as follows:

    • If the child was determined eligible for meals on or before March 31, 2020, the benefit is issued for 65 days to cover the period from March 16, 2020, through June 12, 2020. These children receive $370.50 total.
    • If the child was determined eligible between April 1 and April 30, the benefit is issued for 53 days.
      These children receive $302.10 total.
    • If the child was determined eligible between May 1 and May 31, the benefit is issued for 31 days.
      These children will receive $176.70 total.
    • If the child was determined eligible between June 1 and June 12, the benefit is issued for 10 days.
      These children receive $57.00 total.


Benefit issuance for open SNAP and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) households

Children who are identified as part of an open TANF or SNAP household will receive their P-EBT benefit directly on the household's current EBT card the same way current SNAP benefits are received.

Please Note: Children who receive or have received Medical Assistance (MA) only or whose TANF or SNAP benefits are closed will receive their benefits on a special P-EBT card. The P-EBT card will be white in color and cannot be used for anything other than P-EBT benefits. (See the section below for more information.)


Benefit issuance for households not receiving SNAP or TANF benefits

Households with children who are not identified as part of an open SNAP or TANF household will be issued a white P-EBT card. For households receiving P-EBT cards, it is possible that some information such as Head of Household or household composition may be unavailable.

    • The P-EBT card will be issued in the name of the head of household when the information is available.
    • If the children can be determined to be in the same household, but the Head of Household name is missing, the P-EBT card will be issued in the name of the oldest child.
    • If household composition cannot be determined, a P-EBT card will be issued in the name of each child, so the household will receive multiple P-EBT cards.

Please note: P-EBT cards are non-transferrable. If you do not wish to participate in this program, simply shred and dispose of this card.

While the card is in the name of the head of household or one of the children in the household, the person listed does not need to be present when using the card.


Important information for pinning and use of your P-EBT card

  • How do I activate the card?
    Call the phone number on the back of the card. You will need the EBT card number on the front of the card, your zip code, and the date of birth of the oldest child in the household. If the card is in the name of your child, you will need the date of birth for that child. You will need to enter the last four digits of your zip code when prompted for the last 4 digits of the Social Security Number. You will need to set a four-digit pin number.

  • How do I use the card?
    Once activated, the card can be used to purchase eligible food items anywhere SNAP/EBT cards are accepted. While the card is in the name of the head of household or one of the children in the household, the person listed does not need to be present when using the card.

To check your EBT card balance, please call 1-888-EBT-PENN (1-888-328-7366) or view it online at www.ConnectEBT.com.


SNAP benefits

P-EBT will have no impact no your regular TANF or SNAP benefits.

For other questions about your SNAP benefits, please call the Statewide Customer Service Center at 1-877-395-8930 or your local county assistance office.


When will benefits be issued?

DHS and PDE anticipate that P-EBT benefits will be loaded onto SNAP and TANF households’ EBT cards between May 26 and June 1, if there is an eligible child in the household. DHS and PDE anticipate that white P-EBT cards for non-SNAP and TANF households will start being mailed during the week of June 1, if there is an eligible child in the household.


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