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Food Access and Programs

NYS Pandemic EBT: New Benefit under COVID-19

T + T

Summary

Families First Coronavirus Response Act created the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program. New York State’s P-EBT program provides a food supplement to cover the cost of meals children would otherwise have received at school. Benefits will only be issued for March through June, months in which schools were closed due to COVID-19 during the 2019-20 school year.

To be eligible households must have children (between 3-21) in the household who would be eligible to receive free and/or reduced-priced meals, details are below.

The NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) administers the benefits. Benefits are issued on an EBT card, detailed below.

There is no application for the P-EBT program.

Description of P-EBT

TEMPORARY SUPPLEMENT FOR HOUSEHOLDS WITH SCHOOL-AGED CHILDREN

P-EBT benefits are NOT SNAP benefits. These temporary food benefits help cover the cost of meals children would otherwise have received at school.

The program issues a supplement to those households with school-aged children who would otherwise receive free or reduced-price meals on a household’s EBT card. Expired benefit cards will not be reactivated for P-EBT. For households do not presently have an EBT card, see below, Description, How and When, Wave 3.

It can only be used to purchase unprepared food at participating supermarkets and local bodegas who accept EBT transactions.

BENEFIT AMOUNT

The benefit amount is issued for each day that schools were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the equivalent to USDA’s daily reimbursement for free breakfast and lunch as follows:

  • March: $68
  • April: $125
  • May: $119
  • June $108

$420 is the maximum amount of P-EBT food benefits that each child may receive for the March through June period.

P-EBT food benefits will remain available and accessible on the EBT card for up to one year from the date they are issued. Households in NYS may check their EBT balance by visiting https://www.connectebt.com or by calling 1-888-328-6399.

HOW AND WHEN BENEFITS ARE ISSUED

Benefits will be issued in waves as described below.

Group 1 – Households Enrolled in SNAP and/or Cash Assistance (CA)

The P-EBT food benefits for each eligible child will be issued directly to the household’s existing EBT card.

The payment will be issued in two separate payments, to the household’s current EBT card:

  • 1st Payment: For March and April ($193), will be available to households that receive SNAP or Cash Assistance by early June.
  • 2nd Payment: For May and June ($227) will be available to households that receive SNAP or Cash Assistance by the end of June.

Group 2 – Households Enrolled in Medicaid Not SNAP or Cash Assistance

If a household does not receive SNAP or Cash Assistance benefits but does receive Medicaid, the P-EBT food benefits will be issued either to the parent’s Medicaid Common Benefit Identification Card (CBIC) OR to the CBIC of the oldest child in the household who has been certified for free or reduced-price school lunches.

Information about this will be sent via mail. The notice will indicate how to set up a PIN for the card so that you can use the P-EBT food benefits.

There will be one payment of $420 for March-June that will be issued over an extended period beginning in late June and concluding in early August.

Group 3- Households Not Enrolled in SNAP, CA, Medicaid

EBT cards will be mailed to households not enrolled in SNAP, CA, or Medicaid. The card will be issued and mailed in each school-aged child’s name, not the parent or guardian’s name.

There will be one payment of $420 for March-June that will be issued over an extended period beginning in late June and concluding in early August.

ACCESSING P-EBT

Distribution of P-EBT benefits does not require any action on the part of the recipient. Individuals who believe they should have received these benefits in one of the first two groups listed above and who have not received these benefits should contact the State OTDA helpline at 833-452-0096. OTDA advises that all other callers should have their case/account number located at the top of the State benefits letter available when they call, in order to receive assistance.

Because the State uses client data collected by HRA to confirm addresses, Medicaid clients who have lost their EBT cards and have a change of address should contact the Medicaid helpline to update their contact information at 888-692-6116 or e-mail at otda.sm.eisp.pebt@otda.ny.gov. Clients can also use the form 751K and fax the completed form to 917-639-0837. While HRA does not have any role in the distribution of P-EBT benefits, all addresses should always be up-to-date in their systems in order to help facilitate the State’s distribution of P-EBT.

Distribution of benefits to the third group, all other families with children ages 5-18 who are enrolled in State funded school but not in receipt of public benefits, is now underway. This group was identified through the rosters of enrolled students in the Department of Education. EBT accounts for these families are being created and recipient information is being shared with the State’s vendor for distribution.

It is important to note that only those who have received a letter from OTDA can receive assistance through this helpline. For anyone who has not already received a letter from OTDA, the P-EBT helpline will not be able to provide assistance. Information regarding P-EBT food benefits will only be made available to helpline staff once the P-EBT food benefits have been issued. Recipients of this benefit need to wait to receive a letter before calling the State’s P-EBT helpline and make sure to have the letter available when calling the helpline. Callers will be required to provide the case/account number located at the top of the letter.

Qualifying for P-EBT

  • Households must have children in the household who would be eligible to receive free and/or reduced-priced meals. This includes:
    • Children ages 3 and 4 who attend Universal Pre-K and are receiving free lunch under the National School Lunch Act, however, children of this age who are receiving care in a child care facility and receiving free lunch under the Child and Adult Care Food Program are not eligible.
    • Young adults with disabilities ages 19 to 21 who are still in school.
  • Students who are enrolled in public schools and on-public schools where free lunch is provided as part of the National School Lunch Program.
  • There are no immigration criteria.
    • P-EBT is not counted as a public charge.

Children who are living in foster care, juvenile detention or other living situations not with their parents will receive P-EBT benefits if they are part of a SNAP cases through the benefits cardholder for the case. For children who are not part of a SNAP case, they will receive a letter with instructions on how to access P-EBT food benefits.

Applying for P-EBT

There is no application for the P-EBT program. The State will identify households and issue benefits automatically, see above, COVID-19 Resources, Food Programs, Description of P-EBT, How and When Benefits Are Issued.

How P-EBT Coordinates with Other Food Programs

There is no impact to households who receive any other food assistance including WIC, SNAP, SNAP Emergency Allotment supplements or Grab and Go meals from the Department of Education.

There are no SNAP reporting requirements for P-EBT benefits.

Source Materials