As we noted in the June 3, 2020, installment of “Working Together,” the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) have partnered to provide Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) benefits to eligible school children, ages 5 to 18 (as of September 1, 2019) that were receiving SNAP or MFIP or who were receiving free or reduced-priced school lunches (as of March 18, 2020).
The P-EBT program provides a one-time benefit of $325 per eligible child to help meet the nutritional needs of children during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The DHS also reminds Minnesota families that “applying for P-EBT does not affect enrollment in any other program.” Furthermore, “receiving P-EBT benefits does not impact your or your child's immigration status,” nor does the Public Charge rule apply to P-EBT benefits.
Eligible SNAP and MFIP families do not have to do anything to receive P-EBT benefits as the $325 per child payment has already been loaded onto the head-of-household current Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Card. However, those that receive free or reduced-priced lunch, were enrolled in a Community Eligibility Provision School, or access food through the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), still need to apply directly for P-EBT benefits online at the Code for America website.
The deadline to submit an application is next Tuesday, June 30, 2020. For families that apply online and are deemed eligible, you should be notified withing 30 days. Check your mailbox for your new P-EBT card, which can be used to purchase food at most local grocery stores.
To date, the P-EBT program has served more than 100,000 school age children since June 8, 2020. Still, the DHS estimates that as many as 150,000 additional children are eligible for P-EBT benefits whose families have not yet applied.
For any questions about submitting an application, or help using your P-EBT benefits, please call the P-EBT hotline at 651-431-4050 or 800-657-3698. The online application will be available in multiple languages no later than tomorrow, June 25th. Otherwise, the P-EBT hotline can also assist with benefit applications in several different languages.
And, if your family is having troubling finding healthy food resources, please contact your local county or tribal human services agency or the Minnesota Food Help Line at 651-486-9860 or at hungersolutions.org.