P-EBT

What is P-EBT?

  • Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) provides nutrition assistance to families whose children have lost access to free or reduced-price school meals due to COVID-19 related school closures. Families will receive money on a new or existing EBT card to help make up for these lost meals.

How do I know if I am eligible?

  • If your child receives free or reduced-price school meals, or your child attends a school that offers free school meals to all students, then you may be eligible to receive P-EBT benefits.
  • Families who have recently lost their job or wages may now be eligible and can contact their local school system to submit a free or reduced-price meal application. Households whose free or reduced-price meal application is approved will also be eligible to receive P-EBT.

How much money will I receive?

  • You will receive $5.70 per child for each school day that your child’s school is closed due to the pandemic.

How will I receive the money?

  • Families who already receive benefits (such as SNAP or TANF) on an EBT card will receive P-EBT benefits automatically in June.
  • Families whose children receive free or reduced-price meals but do not have an EBT card will receive a P-EBT card in the mail with instructions on how to use it. Families who have recently lost jobs or wages must first enroll their child in the free and reduced-price meal program in order to receive P-EBT benefits. To do so, they can reach out to their local school system to submit a free or reduced-price meal application.
  • Families can also apply for SNAP benefits, and if eligible, will automatically enroll their child in free school meals once the SNAP application is processed and approved. However, due to increased applications statewide, this process could take up to 30 days to complete.

How can I use these benefits?

  • The Maryland Department of Human Services will send you instructions on how to access your P-EBT benefits using a P-EBT or EBT card.

Do I have to use my benefits all at the same time?

  • No, your P-EBT benefits will carry over month-to-month and will remain on your EBT card for up to 365 days from the date they were made available to you.

When will I receive the benefits?

  • The Maryland Department of Human Services is working to deliver P-EBT benefits as soon as possible. If you are eligible and already have an EBT card, the department will notify you when benefits have been loaded to your card. If you are eligible but do not have a card, the department will send you an EBT card with benefits loaded onto the card and ready for your use.

Will I receive benefits for the days my kids have already been out of school?

  • Yes, the benefits are retroactive to the date schools closed.

How long will I receive benefits for?

  • P-EBT benefits will be calculated from the beginning of the mandated statewide school closure, which was March 16th. Benefits will continue to be issued through the end of the 2020 school year.

Will this affect my ability to receive other benefits?

  • No, it does not.

Does P-EBT replace grab and go meal sites?

  • P-EBT benefits supplement grab and go meals and can be used together. To find a meal site near you, visit MDsummermeals.org.

Does this count against me under public charge?

  • No, it does not. The Department of Homeland Security has stated that receiving P-EBT benefits will not affect your immigration status or your ability to receive immigration benefits.

How can my family receive food assistance now?

  • If your family needs immediate food assistance, you can find food distribution sites and emergency resources in your area on the Maryland Food Bank and Capital Area Food Bank Meal sites for children can be found at www.MDsummermeals.org.
  • You can apply for SNAP benefits in addition to receiving P-EBT. Information on how to apply to SNAP can be found HERE (información sobre SNAP). Applications for SNAP assistance are still being processed while DHS offices are closed. Online applications can be submitted on the MyDHR portal: dhr.state.md.us. If you or someone you know does not have internet access or requires special assistance with filling out this online application, Maryland Hunger Solutions can assist over the phone. For application assistance over the phone, please call and leave a message at: 866-821-5552.