Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT)
What is P-EBT
Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) is a benefit to help purchase food for households with children who have temporarily lost access to free or reduced-price school meals due to pandemic-related school closures at any time during the 2020-2021 school year.
P-EBT eligibility* is determined by participation in the National School Lunch Program, free or reduced-price school meal status, and the days a student was remotely or virtually attending school (at least 5 days in a row).
*We would encourage you to contact your local school if you would like to apply for free or reduced-price meals. Utahns Against Hunger has a tool for contacting your school.
How do I know if I am eligible?
To receive P-EBT, students must be signed up to receive free or reduced-price school meals through their school.
Anyone who received SNAP from September 2020 to the most current month and is eligible for P-EBT, will want to check their EBT card balance. P-EBT benefits will be added to their SNAP EBT card.
For non-SNAP households, if you qualify, a new P-EBT card (similar to a debit card) will be sent to you, even if you received one during 2020 issuances. Check back on this page for information about if and when additional P-EBT benefits may become available.
How do I use the card?
Once you have been approved, you will receive a P-EBT card in the mail. You will need to activate your card before using it. You may use it to purchase food.
Follow the steps below when using your card:
- Activate your card before shopping by selecting your PIN. You will receive instructions on how to set your PIN for your card.
- Download the connectebt mobile app or make yourself familiar with the website connectebt.com.
- Before you shop, always check your balance.
- At the store, choose EBT on the Point-of-Sale (or card reader) machine and swipe your card.
- Enter your PIN on the keypad. The machine will show ****.
- Press the OK or ENTER key.
- The cashier will enter the purchase amount, which will then be displayed on the Point-of-Sale (or card reader) machine.
- If the amount is correct, press the YES key.
- The cashier will hand you your receipt. Please make sure the information on the receipt is correct.
- Keep this receipt so you will know your new balance the next time you shop.
P-EBT cards can be used like debit cards at most stores that sell food. You can see a list of approved stores in your area by entering your zip code into the retailer locator.
Below is a list of items you can and cannot purchase.
You CAN buy unprepared foods such as:
- Bread and cereals
- Fruits and vegetables
- Meats, fish, and poultry
- Dairy products
- Plants and seeds to grow food
You CANNOT buy items such as:
- Prepared foods, i.e., hot foods and foods that can be eaten in the store
- Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, or tobacco
- Non-food items, i.e., pet food, soap, paper products, cleaning supplies
- Vitamins and medicines
- Personal hygiene items, i.e., shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, cosmetics
How do I know if my child is eligible for P-EBT benefits?
Any child that was eligible for free or reduced-price meals (breakfast and/or lunch) or attending a school that is designated as having a majority of children eligible for these meals may receive a P-EBT payment if their school was closed for five consecutive days during the 2020-2021 school year.
Is an application required for this program?
An application for P-EBT is not required for this round of P-EBT benefits. However you must be signed up for free or reduced-price school lunch. Contact your local school if you would like to apply for free or reduced-price meals. Utahns Against Hunger has a tool for contacting your school.
How will my child receive these benefits?
P-EBT benefits will be issued on an EBT card, similar to a debit card. This card will be sent in the mail with instructions for activating and using the EBT card. If you already have a SNAP EBT card and qualify for P-EBT benefits, the money will be automatically added to your card.
When will these benefits be available?
P-EBT benefits will begin to be issued during the last week of March 2021. It is anticipated that we will issue additional payments in May, June, and July 2021.
Are they retroactive?
P-EBT eligibility* is determined by participation in the National School Lunch Program, free or reduced-price school meal status, and the days a student was remotely or virtually attending school. The benefits are for the school year 2020-2021. We would encourage you to contact your local school if you would like to apply for free or reduced-price meals and to discuss the time period you are eligible for. Utahns Against Hunger has a tool for contacting your school.
Where can I use the P-EBT card?
You may use the P-EBT card at any retail food store that accepts SNAP EBT cards. Utah has more than 1,400 approved retailers that can accept and process SNAP purchases with an EBT card. These retailers range from supermarkets to convenience stores and farmer’s markets. You can see a list of approved stores in your area by entering your zip code into the retailer locator.
Can my child still use their school’s summer meal program while receiving P-EBT?
Yes, participating in the P-EBT program does not impact your child(ren)’s summer meal program or any future free or reduced-price meal eligibility.
Will P-EBT be counted as a public charge?
The use of these benefits does not impact your or your child(ren)’s immigration status. The public charge test will not consider P-EBT benefits.
How long are these benefits valid?
You must use these benefits within 365 days.
If I can’t find my answer in this FAQ who can I call?