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Complete P-EBT Guide for 2021-2022: Schedule, Amounts and More!

Complete P-EBT Guide for 2021-2022: Schedule, Amounts and More!

P-EBT, or Pandemic EBT, is an emergency program designed to help replace the free and reduced-price meals that low income families typically receive from schools. Since many students are not able to eat at school due to the pandemic, this program was intended to help families deal with increased food costs from feeding those children at home.

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Although it seems like it should be simple, this program is actually quite complicated. Some states are participating, others not. Some school districts are experiencing extreme delays in issuing payments (sometimes by a year or longer). The money that was intended to help these families is often too little, too late.

However, we’re here to make the issue a little simpler. We’ll break down everything you need to know about P-EBT step-by-step and provide a schedule for when you should be receiving your benefits.

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What is P-EBT?

P-EBT is short for Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer.

Created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this program is designed to provide food benefits to families whose children could not eat free or reduced-price meals at school due to pandemic conditions.

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Instead of eating at school, these families receive an equivalent amount of money on a EBT card that can be used to purchase food for home consumption.

Pandemic EBT is available to families who would’ve received free or reduced price meals. 

The Pandemic EBT program is not designed to help all students in a particular school. The program is specifically aimed at helping students who normally qualify for free or reduced price meals at school. Since many schools are closed, those meals are not available and families are struggling to afford the extra meals. 

In order to be eligible for P-EBT funds, your child must meet all of these requirements: 

  1. You must live in an area that is authorized to issue P-EBT benefits (see list below).
  2. Your child qualifies for and would have received free or reduced-price meals. 
  3. Your child cannot receive free or reduced-price meals because the school is closed or has been operating with reduced attendance/hours for at least 5 consecutive days in the current school year. 

The last one is the trickiest. Before your student will be eligible for P-EBT, your child’s school must have been closed or operating at reduced attendance (or hours) for at least five consecutive days during the school year. Once the five-day threshold is met, it does not have to be met again for the rest of the current health emergency declaration.

According to the documentation that I reviewed, a school is considered to be operating on reduced attendance if some students can choose to participate in virtual instruction for COVID-related reasons.

How much money will I get from P-EBT?

The P-EBT benefits are designed to help families afford meals on days when the children are home instead of eating at school. As a result, the USDA has stated that students are not eligible for P-EBT funds on the days they attend school in person and eat meals at the school. They may be eligible on days they do not attend school or attend but do not receive a meal. 

The P-EBT benefit amount is equal to $7.10 per eligible child for every day that school meals were not available to your child. They chose the $7.10 figure based on an assumption that lunch is worth $3.75, breakfast is worth $2.35 and a snack is worth $1.

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In Alaska, the rates are $11.44 per day. In Hawaii, Guam, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, the rate is $8.28 per day.

This daily rate is multiplied by the number of days that your child was unable to receive meals at the school. The number of days will not include weekends, school breaks or holidays when school is usually not in session. The only days that count are days when the school was closed or the child attended virtually.

Because the payment depends on the specific number of days missed, it will vary each month and depend on the pandemic conditions in your area. It will also vary based on regularly scheduled school breaks and schedules. Therefore, it is impossible for Low Income Relief to calculate or estimate your specific payment amounts.

How much is summer P-EBT?

Summer P-EBT benefits are $375. These benefits are usually issued in one lump sum payment during the summer months in participating areas.

p-ebt helps hungry child get food

P-EBT is not available in all states or school districts. 

Although the Pandemic EBT program has been authorized by the federal government, each state must request and become approved to participate in P-EBT. 

As of the time this post was created, only a handful of states and US Territories have been approved to disburse P-EBT funds for the 2021-2022 school year.

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To add another layer of confusion, eligibility varies depending on your school district and school. This is because the school must’ve been closed or operating on limited hours for at least 5 consecutive days in a given period in order to be eligible. If your school doesn’t meet those requirements, you will not be able to receive EBT even if you live in an area that is participating.

The areas that are currently authorized by the USDA to offer P-EBT benefits in the 2021-2022 school year are listed below. States that are also approved to issue P-EBT for Summer 2022 are marked in bold.

  • Alabama
  • American Samoa
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Guam
  • Indiana
  • Illinois
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

The payment schedules for these dates can be found in the video or table below.

It may take a while to get the funds.

Although the federal government has authorized an extension through the 2021 school year, it may take a while for those funds to reach the families who need them. That’s because the government is a slow-moving machine. 

Some areas have waited over a year to receive the authorized funds, but usually it is much faster. We have a state-by-state schedule below to help you estimate when you will receive your benefits.

When will we get P-EBT benefits?

The date that you will receive P-EBT benefits will depend on where you live. If you are wondering “when will they reload the P-EBT card in my state?” or even “will they reload the P-EBT card in my state?” you’ll find the information that you’re looking for in this chart.

Alabama

Alabama’s plan covers children in child care from August 2021 through May 2022. They’ve established a tentative schedule for the school year’s benefits, and any discrepancies or missed benefits will be paid in August 2022.

  • August – December 2021 will be paid in June 2022
  • January – May 2022 will be paid in July 2022

For Summer 2022 benefits, Alabama will issue the standard benefit of $391 to all eligible children sometime in the month of September.

American Samoa

American Samoa was approved to issue benefits between February 2022 and June 2022. All the benefits should be made available in a single payment in July. New benefits have not been listed as approved after June 2022 on the website yet.

Colorado

Colorado has established a tenative schedule:

  • August – December 2021 benefits will be paid in June 2022
  • January – May 2022 benefits will be paid in August 2022
  • Summer 2022 benefits will be paid in late December 2022 (as a one-time $391 payment per eligible student)

Connecticut

Connecticut plans to issue P-EBT benefits in one lump sum in late July or early August 2022.

Delaware

Delaware has established a more aggressive P-EBT schedule.

  • August – September 2021 benefits will be paid Feb 3, 2022
  • October – March 2021 benefits will be paid March 3, 2022
  • December 2021 – January 2022 benefits will be paid on April 7, 2022.
  • February – March 2022 benefits will be paid on May 5, 2022.
  • April 2022 benefits will be paid on June 2, 2022.

New benefits have not been listed as approved after June 2022 on the website yet.

Florida

Florida expects to begin processing P-EBT applications in April 2022. Their waiver states that they will process benefits every two weeks for approved applications. The application portal will close on July 31, 2022.

Guam

Guam received retroactive approval for Summer 2021. They will issue the standard $438 benefit to all eligible children in March 2022. New benefits have not been listed as approved after June 2022 on the website yet.

Illinois

Illinois is tentatively planning to issue P-EBT benefits on the following schedule:

  • August through December 2021 benefits will be paid in mid-June.
  • January through May 2022 benefits will be paid in mid-July.

Any missed benefits will be paid in mid-August. New benefits have not been listed as approved after June 2022 on the website yet.

Indiana

Indiana is issuing P-EBT benefits quarterly for the 2021-2022 school year.

For Summer 2022, the $391 benefit will be paid over two weekends in mid-July. Any households who do not receive their summer benefits in July will receive them in September instead.

Kentucky

Kentucky has received approval to issue P-EBT benefits. The tentative schedule is as follows:

  • September 2021 – February 2022 benefits will be issued on or around May 25
  • March – May 2022 benefits will be issued on or around June 25

Catch-up payments will be issued on June 25, July 25 and August 25 to cover any payments that were missed. New benefits have not been listed as approved after June 2022 on the website yet.

Louisiana

Louisiana has issued a tentative schedule for the disbursement of their 2021-2022 P-EBT funds.

  • August – October 2021 benefits are tentatively scheduled to be paid in February 2022.
  • November 2021 – January 2022 benefits are tentatively scheduled to be paid in March 2022.
  • February – March 2022 benefits are tentatively scheduled to be paid in April 2022.
  • April 2022 benefits are tentatively scheduled to be paid in May 2022.
  • May 2022 benefits are tentatively scheduled to be paid in June 2022.

New benefits have not been listed as approved after June 2022 on the website yet.

Maine

Maine has issued a tentative schedule for the disbursement of their 2021-2022 P-EBT benefits:

  • August – November 2021 will be paid in a single distribution on June 2
  • December 2021 – June 2022 will be paid on August 31

New benefits have not been listed as approved after June 2022 on the website yet.

Maryland

Maryland has issued the following tentative schedule:

  • September 2021 – February 2022 will be paid in May 2022.
  • March – June 2022 will be paid in June 2022.
  • May – June 2022 will be paid in August 2022.

New benefits have not been listed as approved after June 2022 on the website yet.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts was approved to issue P-EBT this year. However, their schedule is unavailable because the link on the USDA website is broken.

New benefits have not been listed as approved after June 2022 on the website yet.

Michigan

Michigan will be issuing benefits monthly on a staggered schedule. It appears they have been approved for P-EBT in Summer 2022 but I was not able to locate a schedule.

Minnesota

Minnesota will be issuing benefits according to the following schedule:

  • September and December 2021 payments will be issued in February 2022.
  • January – May 2022 benefits will be paid in June 2022.
  • Summer 2022 benefits will be paid in July or August.

Montana

Montana has been approved to issue P-EBT in accordance with the following tentative schedule:

  • September through December 2022 benefits will be paid in July.
  • January through May 2022 benefits will be paid in August.

Any missed benefits will be issued in September or October. New benefits have not been listed as approved after June 2022 on the website yet.

Nebraska

Nebraska has been approved to issue benefits from August 2021 to May 2022. The tentative schedule is as follows:

  • Summer 2021 benefits will be issued March 11
  • August – October 2021 benefits will be issued on April 20
  • November 2021 – January 2022 benefits will be issued on May 19
  • February – March 2022 benefits will be issued on June 16
  • April – May 2022 will be issued on August 16

New benefits have not been listed as approved after June 2022 on the website yet.

Nevada

Nevada has been approved to issue benefits in accordance to the following tentative schedule:

  • August through November 2021 will be paid between September 14 and September 23.
  • December 2021 through February 2022 will be paid between October 14 and October 23.
  • March through June 2022 will be paid between November 14 and November 23.

New benefits have not been listed as approved after June 2022 on the website yet.

New Mexico

New Mexico has been approved to issue P-EBT benefits for the 2021-2022 school year. They have also been approved to send a $391 summer payment to all eligible students by September 30th for the summer benefits.

North Carolina

North Carolina will issue P-EBT payments monthly for the 2021-2022 school year. Summer 2022 benefits will be sent in one $391 payment on July 20 for all students who are known to be eligible. Any eligible students who are newly eligible or who are missed in the July payment will receive their benefits on September 20 instead.

Ohio

Ohio is issuing P-EBT benefits monthly for the 2021-2022 school year. The benefits are sent at the end of the following month. For example, January’s benefits will be paid at the end of February, February’s benefits will be paid at the end of March, and so on.

Ohio has been approved to send summer benefits by the end of September.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma has been approved to issue a $391 one-time payment for summer. They plan to send the payments in July 1 for all children who are known to be eligible. Any children who are identified as eligible but do not receive a payment in July will receive one in October instead.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has released the following tentative schedule:

  • September – November 2021 will be paid in mid-to-late May 2022.
  • December 2021 – February 2022 will be paid in mid-to-late June 2022.
  • March – May 2022 will be paid in mid-to-late July 2022.

New benefits have not been listed as approved after June 2022 on the website yet.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has been approved to issue P-EBT funds for the 2021-2022 school year in accordance with the following schedule:

  • August – December 2021 benefits will be distributed in March 2022
  • Benefits will be sent monthly thereafter

Puerto Rico has been approved to issue a benefit of $455 to all eligible children for summer. The single payment will cover the entire summer period, and will be issued in July between July 2 and 22.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island will issue P-EBT benefits on the following schedule:

  • September 2021 benefits were paid on February 4, 2022.
  • October 2021 benefits were paid on February 11, 2022.
  • November 2021 benefits will be paid on February 18, 2022.
  • December 2021 benefits will be paid on February 28, 2022.
  • January 2022 benefits will be paid on March 4, 2022.

Future dates have not been disclosed as of this update.

South Carolina

South Carolina plans to issue P-EBT benefits for the 2021-2022 school year in a single payment between July 20 and July 29, 2022. New benefits have not been listed as approved after June 2022 on the website yet.

Tennessee

Tennessee will issue P-EBT benefits for 2021-2022 on the following schedule:

  • October – November 2021 benefits will be paid by February 20, 2022.
  • December 2021 – February 2022 benefits will be paid by the 20th of each month.
  • April – June 2022 benefits will be paid in one payment by July 20, 2022.
  • Summer 2022 benefits will be paid in one lump sum in July 2022.

New benefits have not been listed as approved after June 2022 on the website yet.

Texas

Texas has established the following tentative P-EBT schedule:

  • August – December 2021 benefits will be sent in late April 2022
  • January – June 2022 benefits will be sent in early August

New benefits have not been listed as approved after June 2022 on the website yet.

Utah

Utah has established the following schedule for 2022 P-EBT benefits:

  • September 2021 – February 2022 benefits will be sent in May
  • March – April 2022 benefits will be sent in June
  • May – June 2022 benefits will be sent in July
  • Any missed payments will be made in October

Utah has been approved to issue summer benefits. They will issue two payments of $195.50, one in July and one in August.

Vermont

Vermont has been approved to issue P-EBT benefits in the 2021-2022 school year.

  • September 2021 – January 2022 benefits will be paid in the first payment.
  • February 2022 – June 2022 benefits will be paid in the second payment.

In Summer 2022, Vermont will issue one $391 payment per eligible child in August. Any students who become eligible after that date or are missed by that payment will receive their benefits in September instead.

Virginia

Virginia will issue P-EBT benefits for the 2021-2022 school year on or around the 25th of each month.

New benefits have not been listed as approved after June 2022 on the website yet.

Washington DC

It appears that Washington DC has approved a P-EBT disbursement but I was unable to identify any exact dates.

New benefits have not been listed as approved after June 2022 on the website yet.

West Virginia

West Virginia will issue P-EBT benefits on the following tentative schedule:

  • August – December 2021 payments will be issued on April 11, 2022.
  • January – March 2022 payments will be issued on May 2, 2022.
  • April – May payments will be issued on July 22, 2022.

New benefits have not been listed as approved after June 2022 on the website yet.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin will issue P-EBT benefits for the 2021-2022 school year in accordance with the following schedule:

  • September – October 2021 payments will be issued on March 5, 2022.
  • November – December 2021 payments will be issued on April 9, 2022.
  • January – February 2022 payments will be issued on May 14, 2022.
  • March – April 2022 payments will be issued on June 18, 2022.

In Summer 2022, Wisconsin will issue the standard $391 payment for all eligible students in August. A second payment will be made in October for any students who become eligible after the first payment or who do not receive the first payment for some reason.

Here’s what you need to do to get P-EBT. 

There are a lot of mixed messages about what you need to do to get P-EBT benefits. My research has revealed that it should be an automatic process for most families who are eligible. 

However, if you have not received your Pandemic EBT benefits, here are some steps you can take. 

  1. Make sure that your child is registered for the National School Lunch Program and/or School Breakfast Program. 
  2. Make sure that your school has your up-to-date contact information. If your address or phone number have changed since the start of the pandemic, make sure to notify the school as soon as possible. 
  3. Confirm that your state is eligible for P-EBT benefits by checking the USDA website. 
  4. Call your local school. 
  5. Contact your state’s Department of Education. 
  6. Contact your local state department that is in charge of food stamps. These Departments have different names depending on your state. For example, in Washington State, it is the Department of Social and Health Services. In Ohio, it’s the Department of Job and Family Services. In Arizona, it’s the Department of Economic Security.
  7. Contact your elected officials. When you can’t get through anywhere else, it’s helpful to look up your elected state officials and contact them for assistance. 

Frequently Asked Questions about P-EBT

We’ve received a lot of questions about P-EBT from concerned parents and families. As a result, we’ve assembled this FAQ. If your question is not answered here, please ask us in the comments!

Can homeschoolers get P-EBT?

Children who are homeschooled do not qualify for P-EBT because they would not be eating free or reduced-price meals at school. Unfortunately, this includes children who previously attended school but have started homeschooling as a result of the pandemic. 

Can children who are too young for school get P-EBT?

Yes! Children under the age of 6 are eligible for P-EBT as long as their address is within the jurisdiction of a school that is eligible to participate in P-EBT because it is closed or operating on reduced attendance/hours due to COVID-19.

My child usually gets free meals in the summer. Will they get P-EBT?

In many areas, schools provide free summer meals for all children age 18 and under. Participation in this program does not mean that you will be eligible for P-EBT. You must register and be approved for the National School Lunch Program and/or School Breakfast Program in order to be eligible for P-EBT. 

Is pandemic EBT monthly?

It depends on where you live. The pandemic EBT schedule is determined by state. You can find a state-by-state schedule above.

Will the P-EBT card be reloaded?

Most likely! States have urged people who receive P-EBT cards to NOT throw them away because benefits will be reloaded onto the same card. You will not receive a different card for each EBT disbursement.

Where can I use my P-EBT card?

You can use your P-EBT card at most major grocery store chains and retailers. You may also be able to use your P-EBT card at convenience stores, gas stations, farmer’s markets, local food co-ops and other places that accept EBT benefits.

What stores accept P-EBT card?

Many stores accept P-EBT benefits, including major grocery store chains like Walmart, Target, Albertsons, Aldi, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Sam’s Club, Costco, City Market, County Market, Dean Foods, Down to Earth Natural Foods, Family Foods Stores, Safeway, Kroger, Fred Meyer, Food 4 Less, Food City, Food Lion, Foodland, Friendly Foods, Harris Teeter, Piggly Wiggly, Hometown Foods, Horizon Foods, Trader Joe’s, Winco, Market Basket, Price Chopper and more.

How to activate P-EBT card?

To activate the P-EBT card, you will need to follow the instructions on the card or in the letter that came with your card. You will have to call a special number, enter the card number and PIN. It is very similar to activating a debit card. The phone number will vary depending on which state you live in.

You may also need your child’s Local Student ID, which can usually be found on a report card, online school portal, ID card, library card or other school document.

How to check P-EBT balance?

You can check your balance by calling the P-EBT hotline number on the card and using the automated system. Before you can check the balance, you must activate the card. If you try to check the balance before activating the card, you will be told the balance is $0. Make sure you activate the card before you call!

What if I lost my P-EBT card?

You can request a replacement for a lost or misplaced P-EBT card but the USDA does not allow states to replace the value of any benefits that were on the card when it was lost. If you lose the card, you lose the money that was on that card.

You should also be aware that the phone lines for this program typically experience extremely long delays. It is not uncommon to wait for hours for someone to answer.

Can you get P-EBT in a state that has ended their public health emergency declaration?

Yes! According to the USDA, “P-EBT eligibility is based on the federal public health emergency declaration in response to an outbreak of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The US Secretary of Health and Human Services issues public health emergency declarations related to SARS-CoV-2. State and/or local mandates or declarations do not govern the availability of P-EBT benefits.”

If my child was given a grab-and-go meal, will they also get P-EBT?

Generally, no. If your student picks up a meal that was provided by the school and eats that meal somewhere on the school campus, then that was a school-provided meal and the child is not eligible for P-EBT benefits on that day.

In some specific circumstances, a child may be eligible if they are attending virtually and a parent picks up a meal at a location that is using the USDA non-congregate waiver. However, that’s very limited.

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Nicole leads the Low Income Relief team with over 20 years of professional research and writing experience. Nicole started Low Income Relief after a personal experience with poverty. When her husband was medically discharged from the US Army, their family experienced tremendous financial hardship. Nicole was able to gather help from multiple community agencies and move into a nearby low income housing unit in just two weeks! Since then, Nicole has been dedicated to helping low income families in crisis. She regularly spends hundreds of hours combing through countless resources to make sure that Low Income Relief has the most comprehensive and complete resource directories on the internet today. Prior to starting Low Income Relief, Nicole worked as a novelist, journalist, ghostwriter and content creator. Her work has been featured in various print and online publications, including USA Today, eHow, Livestrong, Legal Beagle, The Daily Herald, The Chronicle and more.

Lisa Walker

Friday 17th of June 2022

do I have to fill out an apllication to recieve the P-EBT benefits ?

When will I start recieving my benefits for Michigan residency ?

Isaac

Monday 20th of June 2022

Information on this should be in the article above. Chat with Lira, she might be able to help! https://lowincomerelief.com/chat/

Ericia S Mckelvey

Wednesday 8th of June 2022

How do l apply for my child that's under 6..and in the jurisdiction of PEbt

Isaac

Saturday 11th of June 2022

Information on this should be in the article above. Chat with Lira, she might be able to help! https://lowincomerelief.com/chat/

Delores Christian

Tuesday 7th of June 2022

Is there an application for p-ebt benefits? My children qualify but I didn't receive anything

Isaac

Wednesday 8th of June 2022

The application link should be in the article above. Chat with Lira, she might be able to help! https://lowincomerelief.com/chat/

Chad Comeaux

Tuesday 31st of May 2022

How I know if my kids are gonna get p-ebt

Isaac

Friday 3rd of June 2022

Information on this should be in the article above. Chat with Lira, she might be able to help! https://lowincomerelief.com/chat/

Juanita

Thursday 21st of April 2022

I feel the same way Debbie does. I homeschool my 3 kids because the school wasn't going to do anything about a coach bullying my oldest. It wasn't a planned out deal and we are a very low income family as it is. Food costs have almost doubled here in Texas and we aren't able to get some kind of help just because we homeschool. I receive snap benefits but it's not enough. Why is it ok for whoever it is that's in charge of the decision making to discriminate homeschool families? The pandemic made the same negative impact in our lives just as much as it did anyone else. We need help too....quit discriminating homeschoolers. Please help us...

Isaac

Tuesday 26th of April 2022

Low Income Relief is an information service and does not provide cash or items directly. You will need to search our website for information about organizations that can help you meet those needs. Chat with Lira, she might be able to help! https://lowincomerelief.com/chat/