Pandemic EBT Benefits

Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT)
2021-22 School Year
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

What is P-EBT?
The Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 provided temporary benefits, referred to as P-EBT, to families of school-aged children who would have received free or reduced-priced meals  through the USDA National School Lunch Program (NSLP) if school had not been affected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Who is eligible to receive P-EBT benefits?
 P-EBT benefits are available to school students for the 2021-2022 school year if all the following criteria are met:
1. There is a federal public health emergency in place during the school year.
2. The school participates in the NSLP.
3. The school was closed or operated at reduced attendance for at least five (5) consecutive days for COVID-19-related reasons in the school year. If at least one student at the school meets this criterion, it is considered met for all students in the building.
4. The student is eligible for free or reduced-price school meals under NSLP and School Breakfast Program (SBP) eligibility criteria; or the student attends a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) school.
5. The student had day(s) when they did not attend school in person for COVID-19- related reasons and therefore did not have access to school meals.

Who is NOT eligible to receive P-EBT Benefits?
Children are not eligible to receive P-EBT for any of the following:
• Attend school in person on all school days;
• Are home schooled;
• Attend a cyber charter school or a virtual school that does not participate in the NSLP and/or was not established by an NSLP participating school as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic;
• Attend a school in another state;
• Attend a school that does not participate in NSLP

When will P-EBT benefits be issued to families?
EBT benefits for the 2021-2022 school year will be issued by DHS in three stages:
First Quarter (September 2021 – November 2021):
Late June 2022 Second Quarter (December 2021 – February 2022):
Mid July 2022 Third Quarter (March 2022 – May 2022):
Early August 2022 

**Children whose families already receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits will receive the PEBT benefits on the household’s regular EBT card, if possible. Otherwise, students will receive a new P-EBT card in the eligible student’s name. **

P-EBT-eligible students who do not currently receive SNAP or TANF benefits 
will receive their benefits on a white card marked with “Pennsylvania” on the front. All students will receive a new card on their first issuance for the 2020-21 school year, even if they received a P-EBT card during the 2019-2020 P-EBT issuance. Each student will receive a card. For example: a family with 3 eligible students will receive 3 separate cards. 

 How Much will an eligible student receive?
Each eligible student will receive $7.10 for each day they did not attend school in person for COVID-19-related reasons, and therefore did not have access to meal service at school.

COVID-19-related reasons include:
• School, grade, or classroom closures (e.g., deep clean, outbreak, etc.);
• Student absence(s) or virtual learning day(s) due to having COVID-19 or being exposed (quarantine);
• Student virtual learning day(s) that are voluntary and for COVID-19 reasons; ( The virtual learning option must be a program put in place by an NSLP school for the specific purpose of offering a learning option during the COVID-19 pandemic).
• Student absence(s) due to parent decision to keep their child away from school for COVID-19 concerns; o
• For schools that do not track COVID-19-related absences: student excused absence(s) which last at least five consecutive school days and are not for family events such as vacation.

For purposes of P-EBT, these are considered COVID-19- related absences. The P-EBT simplified schedule is based on 20 school days per month, 60 school days per quarter, totaling the standard 180 school days per school year. Therefore, an eligible student’s P-EBT benefit is based on a range from 0 to 180 days (not exceeding 20 days per month or 60 days per quarter). Schools will be responsible for reporting the number of days a student missed in-person school for COVID-19 related reasons each quarter.

For example, if a student was virtual for an entire month due to COVID-19, the school would count the student’s days missed due to COVID-19 as 20 days in that month. 

What resources are available for families to learn more about P-EBT?
•  DHS’s website has an informational video for families and for additional information.
The website is: https://www.dhs.pa.gov/coronavirus/Pages/P-EBT-Guide.aspx.
• Additional resources can be found at Food Research and Action Center website: https://frac.org/pebtfaq
Just Harvest website: https://www.justharvest.org/faq-about-pandemic-ebt-in-pennsylvania/. 

** For further information please contact DHS at:  484- 363-2137
Please Note: The District does not make any determination on who receives a P-EBT card and how much is receive nor do we issue the cards. All questions related to the P-EBT card should be directed to DHS (Dept. of Human Services)


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