New Pandemic-EBT Cards Should Be Received Soon. What is Pandemic EBT (P-EBT)?
Federal law allows States to implement a temporary program called Pandemic- Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT), which provides eligible children with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) benefits. Preschool (Pre-K) through 12th grade students within eligible school buildings who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or School Breakfast Program (SBP) may be eligible for P-EBT benefits.
The program is administered by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and the Department is partnering with the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) to ensure eligible children receive this important benefit.
For questions regarding P-EBT, please contact the P-EBT customer service line at 1-866-244-0071.
How do I know if my child is eligible for P-EBT benefits?
Under the new law passed October 1, 2020, a school child is eligible for P-EBT if two conditions are met:
1) The child would have received free or reduced-price meals under NSLP or SBP if not for the COVID health emergency;
2) The child does not receive free or reduced-price meals at the school because the school is closed (includes virtual/remote learning) or has been operating with reduced attendance or hours (includes hybrid schedules) for at least 5 consecutive days.
Once this criteria has been met, the child is eligible for P-EBT benefits for the days he or she does not attend school in person, or attends school in person but does not receive a meal at school to eat at school. Children are not eligible for P-EBT benefits for days they attend school in person and receive meals at school. Examples of potentially eligible school children are the following situations:
Under the old law, a school operating a hybrid schedule for at least 5 days with in-person instruction occurring every other day (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) with virtual/remote learning on the other days (Tuesday and Thursday) was not eligible for P-EBT. Under the new law, a school with this type of hybrid schedule meets the requirements for P-EBT. Based upon the date a school met the requirements above, eligible children who were not previously eligible under a hybrid model may be provided benefits for August and September.
How much will an eligible child receive?
Each child will receive $6.82 (the combined daily federal reimbursement rate for breakfast and lunch for school year 2020-2021) for each day the child does not receive free or reduced-price meals at the school because the school is closed (includes virtual/remote learning) or has been operating with reduced attendance or hours for at least 5 consecutive days. This also includes days a child is not at school in-person for at least 5 consecutive days because they are sick or having to quarantine due to COVID-19. Weekends, holidays or school breaks are not included.
How are P-EBT benefits issued?
ODJFS obtains a list from the schools or school districts of all children eligible for free and reduced-price meals and the number of days they met the criteria for P-EBT. Based on this data, P-EBT benefits are provided on an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card.
If the child is a current SNAP recipient:
The P-EBT benefits may be added to the account on which the child is active in early February.
If the child was unable to be matched to his or her active SNAP account, you will be sent a P-EBT card in the child’s name.
If the child is not a current SNAP recipient:
If the child has previously been on SNAP, but is not currently, he or she will receive a P-EBT card. Each child will receive a P-EBT card; benefits of siblings will not be grouped onto one card.
Although you will receive a new card in mid-February, if you received a P-EBT card for prior benefits it will still be active and can be used if there is a balance.
How often will this benefit be issued?
If your child meets the P-EBT eligibility criteria in a month, benefits will be provided as follows:
Can a family apply for P-EBT benefits?
No. P-EBT does not have an application. Any child eligible for free and reduced-price meals should receive the P-EBT benefits. If your child has not been approved for free or reduced-price meals, you should contact your child’s school to ask how to apply.
All this information and more about the P-EBT Program can be found on the Job & Family Services website: https://jfs.ohio.gov/ofam/p-ebt.stm