Earlier this week, the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) announced that the deadline to apply for Pandemic EBT benefits (P-EBT) has been extended one month to July 31, 2020. The P-EBT program, a partnership between the DHS and the Minnesota Department of Education, provides a one-time benefit of $325 per eligible child to help meet the nutritional needs of children during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. So far, the program has served well over 100,000 school children.
For those Minnesota households with school-age children that receive SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and/or MFIP (Minnesota Family Investment Program) benefits, do not have to do anything to receive P-EBT benefits as the $325 per child payment has (or will) be loaded onto the head-of-households current Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. DHS has also announced that an additional one-time benefit of $100 per child will be added to EBT cards as part of the new Summer P-EBT initiative.
Additionally, the P-EBT program has now been expanded to include pre-K school children ages 3 to 4 (previously the program only served children from the ages of 5 to 18). Eligibility for these expanded benefits means that – Your Pre-K child(ren) must have been enrolled in a district Pre-K program where they were receiving free/reduced school lunch prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. To apply for the expanded P-EBT benefits (for 3 and 4-year-olds), please visit the Code for America website at https://mn.p-ebt.org/en/. (Note: Head Start participants do not qualify for P-P-EBT benefits).
Moreover, there are tens of thousands of P-EBT eligible households that still need to apply to receive their benefits. This includes families whose children 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). Again, you must apply for these benefits online at https://mn.p-ebt.org/en/. Applications are available in English, Spanish, Somali, Hmong, Vietnamese, and Russian.
And, as a final reminder, the DHS wants all Minnesota households to know that “applying for P-EBT will 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.
The DHS has established a telephone hotline to address P-EBT related questions. This hotline – which can be reached at (651) 431-4050 or (800) 657-3698 – is available Monday through Friday during the month of July from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Central Time. Additional information will also be posed on a dedicated DHS webpage at https://mn.gov/dhs/p-ebt/.