Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer – P EBT application is part of the U.S. government response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In support of President Biden’s call to action on hunger, USDA announced that it is increasing the P-EBT benefit by approximately 15 percent, providing more money for low-income families and millions of children missing meals due to school and child care closures.
Through P EBT, eligible school children receive temporary emergency nutrition benefits loaded on EBT cards that are used to purchase food. Children who would have received free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Act if their schools were not closed or operating with reduced hours or attendance for at least 5 consecutive days are eligible to receive P-EBT benefits.
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More about the P EBT and Application
In September 2020, the DHS issued P EBT benefits for the new school year to the children who were known to be eligible at that time and who already had existing EBT cards. Unfortunately, some eligible children may not have been paid yet due to the time limit and challenges in the federal government’s rules.
Since then, schools reported more children eligible for August and September P EBT benefits. They can now be paid in March 2021 as the District has been authorized to issue P EBT benefits retroactively. Additionally, all eligible students in August and September 2020 will receive extra benefits due to an increase in the P EBT benefit daily rate.
The P EBT daily rate increased from $5.70 per school day per child in SY19-20 to $5.86 at the beginning of SY20-21 and further increased to $6.82, which can be retroactively applied to the beginning of the current school year. Every student eligible in August and September 2020 will receive additional benefits of $0.96 multiplied by the number of school days during this period after P-EB benefits are issued at the daily rate of $5.86 per child.
All P EBT benefits will be issued to your existing EBT card if you are currently receiving SNAP benefits or received P EBT benefits previously. If you are new to the P EBT program, you will receive a new EBT card when benefits for your child are issued. Therefore, it is important to have an up-to-date address on file with your school or your SNAP case at the DHS. If you lost your EBT card or have trouble activating your card, you may submit an online web form
Eligibility and Application for P EBT
P EBT for Children in SchoolsThe basic P EBT eligibility criteria for children in schools remains unchanged. Given that there is a Public Health Emergency designation in place, a school child is eligible for P EBT benefits in the school year 2020-2021 if the child meets the P EBT conditions for eligibility:
- The child would have received free or reduced price school meals under the NSLP and SBP if not for the COVID public health emergency; and
- The child does not receive free or reduced-price meals at school because the school is closed or has been operating with reduced attendance or hours for at least 5 consecutive days in the current school year.
P EBT for children in covered child care facilities given that there is a Public Health Emergency designation in place, a child is eligible for benefits under P EBT’s child care component if three conditions are met:
- The child is a member of a household that received SNAP benefits at any time since October 1, 2020,
- The child is enrolled in a covered child care facility*, and
- The facility is closed or is operating with reduced attendance or hours for at least 5 consecutive days, resulting in the child’s inability to attend the facility; or one or more schools in the area of the facility, or in the area of the child’s residence, is closed or is operating with reduced attendance or hours.
School Year 2020-2021 for P EBT
The following states have been approved to operate a Pandemic EBT program during SY 2020-2021
- District of Columbia
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Puerto Rico
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
Additional Information About P EBT Benefits & Additional Food Resources
About the P EBT application
Pandemic EBT (P EBT) is a federal program created under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020. The program provides food benefits to families with children who would have received free or reduced-price school meals under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) if not for the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency. A child is eligible to receive P EBT benefits if they:
- do not receive free or reduced-price meals at school because the school is closed; or,
- the school has been operating with reduced attendance or hours for at least five consecutive days.
DHS, the District’s SNAP agency, is responsible for issuing P EBT benefits to qualified households through EBT cards, in collaboration with Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) to obtain student enrollment and NSLP information.
P EBT benefits are equivalent to the daily reimbursement for free breakfast and lunch, and P EBT benefits issued for school year 2019-2020 were $5.70 per child, multiplied by the average number of days when school was canceled. The P EBT daily benefit rate increased to $5.86 at the beginning of school year 2020-2021, and received an additional increase in February 2021 to $6.82 to include a snack benefit. The increased benefits can be applied retroactively to students eligible in August and September of school year 2020-2021.
P EBT benefits are issued to EBT cards and benefits may be used to purchase food at stores that accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) or online at Amazon.
Qualifications & Eligibility
The District does not require a P EBT application. To receive P EBT benefits, a child should meet one of the following conditions:
- Submission of a FARM application to the child’s school for the current school year and approval of the application has been received.
- Attending a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) school in low-income areas. View a list of eligible CEP schools in the District.
- Receiving SNAP and TANF benefits, experiencing homelessness or residing in foster care.
Please contact your child’s school to verify their eligibility for P EBT and the school lunch program.
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Receiving P EBT
District residents, who are currently participating in SNAP or have previously received P EBT benefits, will receive P EBT benefits on their existing EBT card. District residents new to the P EBT program will receive a new EBT card when P EBT benefits are issued for the first time.
Please complete and submit an online web form if your EBT card is lost or missing, or you are experiencing trouble activating your EBT card.