P-EBT Food Benefits for Children: What You Need to Know (click here for printable PDF)

What is it:

The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) is a federal program that helps families whose children receive free meals at school through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). When schools are functioning regularly, a child has access to two full meals a day. If your child missed school due to a COVID-19 related absence, you could receive between $391-$1671 per child to help cover the costs of missed meals during the 2021-22 school year and Summer 2022 term.

Who is eligible:

Any family with a child who attended K-12 in NYC public schools last school year regardless of income or immigration status.

Children in charter, private, pre-K, parochial, and CEP schools who receive free meals through the National School Lunch Program. 

Children under 6 years old as of September 2021 who received federal SNAP food assistance in the months between then and June 2022.

How to Apply:

The New York State will automatically distribute P-EBT funds to students who were absent or remote for (5) or more consecutive days of school. 

Parents/guardians not automatically covered can submit a P-EBT Food Benefit application. The online application will be available from May 15 until August 15, 2023. Those who are determined eligible will receive the benefits on a rolling basis between May 15 through September 29, 2023.

How are funds distributed:

Children currently receiving SNAP or Temporary Assistance will have their P-EBT food benefits issued to their household’s EBT card.

Children who received P-EBT benefits for the 2019-20 and/or 2020-21 school years on a P-EBT Food Benefit card will receive their benefits on the same card.

All other eligible children will be mailed a P-EBT Food Benefit card with instructions explaining how to activate the card with their benefits.

What can you buy:

P-EBT food benefits can only be used to purchase the same food items that are covered under SNAP. The benefits will be available for 274 days from the date they were issued.

If you have further questions regarding your child’s eligibility, please contact the P-EBT Helpline at 1-833-452-0096

Do you or someone you know need help with a family legal issue?
For assistance, please call our intake line at (718) 624-3894 or click here to begin an online intake.

(Updated May 24, 2023)