Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) is a temporary food benefit available to Minnesota families with children who would have received free or reduced-price meals if schools were open. During the 2019-2020 school year and the following summer, more than 265,000 Minnesota children received P-EBT benefits. On February 8 2021 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved Minnesota to operate a P-EBT program for the 2020-2021 school year. Due to changes in federal law, the 2020-2021 school year P-EBT program includes significant changes from the 2019-2020 P-EBT program. These changes include:
- Eligibility will be determined automatically based on enrollment in SNAP, MFIP, Tribal TANF, or free and reduced-price school meals. There will be no separate P-EBT application.
- At this time, benefits are only available to children in grades kindergarten through 12.
- Each child will receive a customized benefit amount based on a calculation of how many distance or hybrid-learning days their school used in a given month:
- Eligible students who spent the majority of the month in distance learning will receive $130 in P-EBT benefits for that month.
- Eligible students who spent the majority of the month in a hybrid learning format will receive $75 in P-EBT benefits for that month.
- Eligible students who spent the majority of the month doing in-person learning will not receive P-EBT benefits for that month.
- Each eligible child with qualifying out-of-school learning days will receive a P-EBT card in the mail regardless of any existing P-EBT or Minnesota EBT cards already present in the household.
- For families who receive SNAP, MFIP, or Tribal TANF or who have been approved for free and reduced-price school meals by February 28, 2021, the Minnesota Department of Human Services will begin issuing P-EBT cards in late March, 2021. Issuance will be staggered and will depend on when their school submits data to the Minnesota Department of Education.
- Families who are approved for free and reduced-price school meals after February 28. 2021 will receive their card once their eligibility has been processed.
- All families will receive benefits retroactive to September. These retroactive benefits will be spread out over future benefits issuances according to an issuance schedule available on the P-EBT website. Future months of benefits will go on the same P-EBT card.
- No action is needed from eligibility workers at Morrison County Social Services.
- If clients are not receiving SNAP, MFIP or tribal TANF, they should submit an application for free or reduced-price school meals before February 28, 2021. They should contact their school to find out if they need to submit an application even if they are already receiving no-cost school meals.
- Clients should also make sure all the schools that their children attend have their current address information.
- A P-EBT Hotline for the 2020-2021 school year program will be available in early March, 2021.
- More information about how to prepare to receive these benefits is available on the DHS public facing website.