P-EBT Frequently Asked Questions

What is Pandemic EBT (P-EBT)?

P-EBT is a grocery benefit that covers the cost of school meals when your child misses school due to COVID closures or absences.

Who is eligible for Pandemic EBT?

To be eligible for school year 2021-2022 Pandemic EBT, students must meet all of the following criteria:
1. They must attend a school that was closed or had reduced attendance due to COVID-19 for 5 consecutive days
2. They must have been absent from school or attended remotely due to COVID-19. P-EBT benefits are only issued to students for the days school meals were missed due to COVID-19
3. They must be eligible for free or reduced price school meal benefits

How do I know if my student is eligible for free or reduced price school meal benefits?

• Any student attending a Community Eligibility Provision or Special Provision II school are automatically eligible for free or reduced price school meal benefits. You can view a list of CEP and Special Provision II schools
• Students receiving SNAP or TANF benefits of at least $1 any month during the school year are automatically eligible for free or reduced price school meal benefits 
• Students documented as being part of a family engaged in migrant agricultural work are automatically eligible for free or reduced price school meal benefits 
• Students documented as experiencing homelessness are automatically eligible for free or reduced price school meal benefits 
• Students in foster care through Maine’s DHHS are automatically eligible for free or reduced price school meal benefits 
• Eligible students not meeting any of the conditions above should apply for school meal benefits using the online school meal benefit form
• School breakfast and lunch were served at no cost for all Maine students this past school year, but that does not mean that all students in Maine are eligible for P-EBT. P-EBT eligibility is determined by the criteria listed above

How much is the P-EBT benefit?

Eligible children receive $7.10 per school day, or $35 per week, to cover the cost of school breakfast, lunch, and snack when they miss school meals because of COVID.

Benefit amounts will vary from child to child based on their individual experiences such as a classroom quarantine or if a student was absent from school or attended remotely because they had COVID.

Are P-EBT benefits also available for younger children?

More information about P-EBT for children under 6 coming soon.

Do families need to apply to receive P-EBT?

To apply for P-EBT, families need to submit a school meal benefit form to their school to make sure their children qualify for P-EBT. Families can submit the form quickly and securely online.

Families may not have submitted a school meal application this year because schools are providing free meals to all students. But it’s not too late to fill out the form now, and it is important that families fill out the school meal benefit form to receive Pandemic EBT.

Children are automatically qualified for P-EBT if they receive SNAP or attend a school that offers meals at no cost to all students with the Community Eligibility Provision. Families in these situations do not need to submit a school meal application to qualify for P-EBT.

If you think your household might be eligible for SNAP, you can apply online at My Maine Connection. Quickly screen for SNAP eligibility using this online calculator.

How do families receive P-EBT benefits?

Benefits are provided on an EBT card. This card works like a debit card and is used to purchase food at stores that accept EBT like grocery stores, corner stores and farmers markets. You can find a list of farmers markets that accept EBT.

If a child lives in a household that receives SNAP, P-EBT benefits are loaded onto their family’s SNAP card. Households can apply for SNAP online at My Maine Connection.

For children that do not live in a household receiving SNAP, an individual card is issued for each eligible child. 

If a child received P-EBT before, benefits are loaded onto the same card previously provided. Lost or destroyed cards can be replaced. Report a lost card on the Maine EBT site or by calling 1-800-477-7428.

If a child is newly receiving P-EBT, a card will be mailed to the address on file with their school. Make sure your school has your updated mailing address!

P-EBT cards arrive in an unmarked white envelope, so be on the lookout and report lost cards on the Maine EBT site or by calling 1-800-477-7428.

This is what the P-EBT card will look like:

How do I set up my pin for my P-EBT card?

Call the number on the back of the P-EBT card. You will need to enter the child’s date of birth and the last four digits of their Social Security Number (SS#). If the child does not have a SS# you will need to enter 9999.

Why did I receive multiple cards?

P-EBT cards are issued for each eligible child not on SNAP. If your children were not on SNAP you will receive a P-EBT card for each eligible child.

Other people received P-EBT on their EBT card. Why don’t I have my card(s) or benefits yet?

P-EBT cards can take 14 days or longer to be delivered due to postal delays. If you have not received your card by July 6, 2022, you can contact the Maine Department of Health and Human Services at Farmington.DHHS@Maine.Gov.

Does receiving P-EBT affect my immigration status? Is P-EBT considered for public charge?

No. Immigration status is not considered for Pandemic EBT eligibility and receiving P-EBT will not make you a public charge.

When will my child get P-EBT?

School-aged children were issued P-EBT for August through November 2021 on June 21, 2022. Benefits for the remainder of the school year are anticipated to take place in late August. Please remember it may take 14 days or longer to receive an EBT or P-EBT card due to postal delays.

Why did my child get a different P-EBT benefit amount than their classmate?

Unlike previous years, each child’s benefit is uniquely calculated based on the number of days they missed school meals due to COVID-19. Children who had a different number of remote days or excused absences received a different benefit amount.

Do home-schooled children qualify for P-EBT?

No. To qualify, school aged children must be enrolled in a school that offers meals through the USDA National School Lunch Program and be eligible for Free/Reduced price meal benefits through the USDA National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program. Households must submit a meal benefit application to establish free or reduced priced school meal benefit eligibility.

Will there be P-EBT benefits for summer 2022?

More information about Summer P-EBT coming soon.

Can families receive P-EBT and get summer meals?

Yes! Families can participate in P-EBT, summer meals, SNAP, and WIC – all these programs can work together to ensure families have the food they need right now. To find a summer meal site near you, check out Maine Hot Lunch Summer.

I believe my child was eligible to receive P-EBT due to Covid absences this school year, but did not receive them OR my child did not receive the correct benefit amount.  What should I do?

If your child is eligible for Free/Reduced price meal benefits through the USDA National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program, is enrolled in an eligible school, and missed school meals due to COVID-19, they are eligible for a benefit of $7.10 for each day missed. If you believe they did not receive the correct amount of P-EBT for August through November 2021, you can complete a P-EBT Reconciliation Application (PDF), and mail it to:

P-EBT
Department of Health and Human Services
Office for Family Independence
109 Capitol St.
Augusta, ME 04330-6841

or e-mail it to P-EBT.DHHS@Maine.gov.

Questions? Call 1-855-797-4357 ext 5 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday 8am-4:30pm or email P-EBT.DHHS@Maine.gov.