Pandemic Food Benefits (P-EBT) for school-aged children explained

An imaged of a PEBT benefits card
Eligible families should receive a P-EBT card sometime in October.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act authorized the payment of Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) food benefits to households with children who would have received free school lunches if not for a school closure.

These temporary food benefits of $420 per eligible child are to help cover the cost of meals children would have received meals at school from March-June 2020. The goal of the program is to help families by providing food for children while they are not in school due to the COVID19 pandemic.
P-EBT benefits have begun to be distributed, leading to some confusion for families who do not participate in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP.)
Because the Liberty Central School District is a district in which all students receive free school meals, all of our students are eligible for the P-EBT benefits. The benefit is based upon enrollment as of the end of March 2020. Therefore, Liberty’s 2020 graduates will likely be included.
The $420 benefit will be automatically added to the accounts of those who already participate in SNAP. For those who don’t, a new card will be mailed  for each child in the household regardless of income.
If your family received SNAP or Temporary Assistance (TA) benefits for March 2020 you should have already received your P-EBT food benefits, which were issued to your family’s current EBT card in May and June.

FAQs about Pandemic Food Benefits

Do I need to apply for P-EBT food benefits?

No. P-EBT food benefits will automatically be issued to eligible children.

If your family received SNAP or Temporary Assistance‒TA for March 2020, and you have children age 5-18 who receive free or reduced-price school lunch, you should have already received P-EBT food benefits, which were automatically issued to your family’s EBT card in May and June.

If you have children who receive free or reduced-price school lunch, but your family did not receive P-EBT food benefits in May and June, you will automatically get P-EBT food benefits for each school-age child in your household.

Information about when and how to access P-EBT food benefits will be mailed to households with eligible children through October.

Are my child/children eligible?

All children who would have received free or reduced-price school lunches for the days their school was closed due to COVID-19 are eligible. This includes:

  • All children attending Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) schools where all children attending public schools in the district received free or reduced-price school lunches. The Liberty Central School District is a CEP school.
  • Children who attend private, parochial and charter schools and who received free school lunches.
  • Three and 4-year-old children attending Universal Pre-K and who received free school lunches.
  • Young adults ages 19 to 21 who are still in school and who received free school lunches.
  • Foster children who received free school lunches.
  • Children who are non-citizens and who received free school lunches.

Do my preschool children qualify?

Yes. Children ages 3 and 4, who attended pre-kindergarten and who received free school lunch through the National Free Lunch Program are  eligible.

Do young adults ages 19 to 21 who are still in school qualify?

Yes. Young adults who are ages 19 through 21 who were still in school during the 2019-20 school year and who would have received free school lunches  are eligible.

How much will my child receive in P-EBT food benefits?

The maximum monthly amounts you may receive for each eligible child in your household are:

  • March: $68
  • April: $125
  • May: $119
  • June: $108

So, $420 is the maximum amount one child could receive.

When will my child receive the P-EBT food benefits?

Families with children ages 5 through 18 who received either SNAP or TA benefits for March 2020 received their P-EBT food benefits in May and June.

Most, but not all, families with children ages 3-18 who get Medicaid and who get free school lunches received their P-EBT food benefits in July 2020.

All other families with children eligible for P-EBT food benefits should soon receive a P-EBT food benefit card for each eligible child. Eligible children will continue to receive their P-EBT 2020 food benefit cards through October.

How will I receive P-EBT food benefits?

The P-EBT food benefits will be loaded onto an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card.

Most families that receive SNAP or TA benefits already received the P-EBT benefits in May or June, which were were issued directly to your household’s existing EBT card and added to your SNAP balance.

To check your food benefits balance (but not your eligibility for P-EBT food benefits) visit www.connectebt.com or call 1-888-328-6399. Agents acan  answer questions about your SNAP balance but do not have information about P-EBT.

Most families with children who receive Medicaid, who are between the ages of 3 and 18 and who are eligible for P-EBT food benefits will have their P-EBT benefits issued to the Medicaid Common Benefit Identification Card (CBIC) of the parent or to the CBIC of the oldest child in your household. Households with children in this group received a letter in July telling them how to access their P-EBT food benefits using their CBIC.

The parents/guardians of eligible children who did not receive P-EBT food benefits on a SNAP, TA or Medicaid card will receive a P-EBT 2020 food benefit card in the mail. A card will be sent for each eligible child. These cards will be mailed in the child’s name, not a parent’s or guardian’s name.

Eligible children will continue to receive their P-EBT 2020 food benefit cards, including instructions on how to use them, through October. Once your benefits have been used, keep your card in the event P-EBT food benefits are issued again.

All P-EBT cards will have an ID number that starts with the letter “I” and a generic birthdate of 01/01/1900.