Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer

Thank you for your interest in P-EBT.

DFCS is in the process of manually issuing P-EBT benefits to the families who are identified by their local school as P-EBT eligible for the 2020-2021 school term.

We thank you for your patience as we work to ensure that students approved for free and reduced lunch through the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Program receive this benefit.

Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT)

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides a temporary benefit called Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) for children who were without access to free or reduced-price school meals during the 2020-21 school year, and for SNAP eligible children enrolled in childcare and K-12 schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic.   

For data and information related to student eligibility and/or school participation in the National School Lunch Program and/or National School Breakfast Program during the 2020-2021 school year, or of the school mode(s) of operation, which are conditions for P-EBT eligibility, please contact your child’s school.  

For general information about the P-EBT benefits program and for assistance with troubleshooting issues, call the P-EBT Hotline at 855-501-Info (4636).

P-EBT Frequently Asked Questions

The Georgia Division of Family & Children Services (DFCS) in collaboration with Georgia State University is implementing the new Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program, with data from the Georgia Department of Education, local school districts and the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning.

This program will provide extra help to families of more than 1.1 million children who normally would receive free or reduced school meals through participation in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Programs. Families of eligible students approved for free or reduced meal benefits will receive P-EBT benefits based on the child’s learning mode as determined by each school district. If your eligible child attended a school that participated in the National School Meals programs and were required to close or reduce operating hours or attendance for a period of at least five (5) consecutive days during the 2020-2021 school year, you may be eligible for a P-EBT payment.

Details and general information about the new P-EBT program are included below in the Frequently Asked Questions section. DFCS is continuing to put the P-EBT program into operation, so please continue to revisit the DFCS website for more information and updates.

Families who are currently receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) and are eligible for this benefit will receive a P-EBT payment preloaded on their existing Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card.

The program is also available to families not currently receiving SNAP but approved for the free or reduced school meal programs. Eligible students will have a P-EBT card mailed to the family within three (3) to four (4) weeks. The family will receive information with their P-EBT card in the mail explaining how to activate and use their P-EBT card. Customers are asked to keep their P-EBT cards to receive multiple issuances or payments over several months. 

Below are Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding the P-EBT program:

1. What is P-EBT?
Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) is a program authorized by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which aids families with children who temporarily lost access to free or reduced-price school meals as a result of school closures or the reduction of school hours or attendance capacity and for SNAP-eligible children in childcare due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

2. Who is eligible for P-EBT?
All children attending a Georgia public school (including Georgia public charter schools) who would receive free or reduced-price meals, if not for their school closure or reduced attendance or hours due to COVID-19, are eligible to receive P-EBT. Due to school closures or reduced attendance or hours caused by the pandemic, these households are eligible to receive benefits on an EBT card to help them buy food for their children. DFCS is utilizing free or reduced-price meals eligibility data obtained from local school districts to issue benefits to children approved for the free or reduced-price meals program who are eligible for this assistance. Eligible schools were closed or operated with reduced attendance or hours for at least five (5) consecutive days in the 2020-2021 school year.

  • All children under the age of six (6) in households that received SNAP at any time since Oct. 1, 2020, are eligible for P-EBT benefits if they live in or attended childcare in an area where one or more schools or childcare facilities were closed or operated with reduced attendance or hours for the months they received SNAP.

NOTE: Staff at the Georgia Department of Education and DFCS are not able to determine free or reduced priced meals eligibility for the P-EBT program. Please contact your local school regarding status for the 2020-2021 school term if you have not received benefits according to the schedule below, but believe your application was accepted during 2020-21 school year.

3. What are the P-EBT eligibility criteria for children enrolled in childcare starting on Oct. 1, 2020?
Given that there is a Public Health Emergency designation in place, a child is eligible for benefits under P-EBT’s childcare component if three conditions are met:

A. Children in childcare can receive P-EBT if they are eligible for SNAP and their childcare facility was closed or operating with reduced attendance or hours for at least five (5) consecutive days. 
B. If they live in the area of a school that was closed or operating with reduced attendance or hours for at least five (5) consecutive days.
C. Under the latest amendment to the FFCRA, all eligible children in SNAP households under the age of six (6) will be considered enrolled in a covered childcare facility.

4. Do schools need to be closed or operating at reduced attendance or hours for 5 consecutive days for a student to receive P-EBT benefits?
Yes. Under the revised standard effective for school year 2020-2021, a school must be closed or operating at reduced attendance or hours for five (5) consecutive days. Once a school meets this requirement at any point during the school year, that school does not need to meet this requirement again. After the requirement is met, students approved for free or reduced-price meals are eligible to receive P-EBT benefits.

5. Does legal status of the child affect eligibility for P-EBT? Will school-aged children who are undocumented non-citizens approved as eligible in the free/reduced school meal programs receive the P-EBT benefits?
All children who were eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals, if not for their school closure or reduced attendance or hours due to COVID-19, are eligible to receive P-EBT. DFCS is utilizing free or reduced-price meals eligibility data obtained from local school districts to issue benefits to children approved in the free or reduced-price meals program.

6. Will getting P-EBT impact my family’s ‘public charge’ status?
No. Using P-EBT benefits does not impact your or your child's immigration status. The Public Charge rule does not apply to P-EBT benefits.

P-EBT ISSUANCE INFORMATION

7. How and when will I get my P-EBT benefits?
There are two categories of people who will receive benefits:

  • Families of eligible students who are currently receiving SNAP benefits will receive a P-EBT benefit on their existing EBT card when possible.
  • Families of eligible students, which were previously issued a SNAP EBT card, may receive benefits on that already existing account – even if they are not currently a SNAP customer. If this original card has been lost, destroyed or stolen, the family will need to order a new card to access P-EBT benefits (see below for instructions).
  • Families of eligible students, which are not currently receiving SNAP benefits, will be mailed a P-EBT card with preloaded benefits. The family will receive information with their P-EBT card in the mail explaining how to activate and use their P-EBT card. 
  • Non-SNAP families of eligible students that received P-EBT benefits during the 2019-2020 school term that are also eligible for the 2020-2021 school term, will receive a new P-EBT card.

8. How will you know where to send my P-EBT benefits?
For those families not receiving SNAP benefits, a P-EBT card will be sent to the address on file at the student’s school during the 2020-2021 school term.  

9. When will P-EBT benefits be issued?
P-EBT benefits for children who meet the childcare eligibility requirements are scheduled to be released beginning as early as October 2021. Families of eligible K-12 students can expect to receive their payments beginning in November 2021. (The local school districts were responsible for determining the learning mode for each month for the student body and that information was used to create the issuance amounts below.)

Check back periodically to see issuance updates populated here:

Issuance Month Population Benefit Months
October 2021 0-5 year old SNAP children Oct. 2020-May 2021
November 2021 School-aged children Aug. 2020-March 2021
December 2021 School-aged children April 2021-May 2021
December 2021 All eligible children Summer 2021

Download this xls file. P-EBT 0-5 Payments by County

10. How much will I get in P-EBT benefits?

P-EBT can be issued to eligible students who experienced a minimum of five days of COVID-related school closures, or reduced hours or attendance. Once this criteria is met, families will receive multiple issuances over several months based on the school status/child’s learning mode as determined by each school district. All children under the age of six (6) in households that received SNAP at any time since Oc. 1, 2020 will receive one lump sum P-EBT payment.

Allotments will be determined by the number of school closure days during the school term. Georgia DFCS was approved to issue $6.82 per day for the days the child missed school in Georgia due to the aforementioned COVID-related school operating adjustments. See the chart above to determine the amount a student at a particular school will receive. 

11. How long will I have to use P-EBT benefits?
Effective Sept. 23, 2021, all P-EBT benefits must be used within 274 days. Benefits not used within 274 days after your last purchase or return, will be removed from your account and cannot be replaced.

P-EBT CARDS

12. How do I activate my P-EBT card?
Families of eligible students will receive information in the mail, along with their P-EBT card, explaining how to activate and use their P-EBT card. Families receiving a P-EBT card will need to create a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to activate the card and may log into https://www.connectebt.com/gaebtclient/ or call 888-421-3281 to complete this process. You will need to enter 0000 when prompted for the last 4 digits of the Social Security Number. You will need to select a four-digit PIN.

13. I did not get a P-EBT card and believe I should have. What do I do?

  • If you are currently receiving SNAP, P-EBT benefits will be automatically loaded to your EBT card when possible.
  • If your family is not currently receiving SNAP and your child does not receive a P-EBT card, contact your child’s school for to confirm eligibility for the FRL program and eligibility for P-EBT.
  • Families will receive information with their P-EBT card in the mail explaining how to activate and use their P-EBT card. If a P-EBT card is not received from the vendor, families can call the P-EBT Hotline at 855-501-Info (4636) for assistance.
  • Should you need to order a replacement card, log into https://www.connectebt.com/gaebtclient/ or call 888-421-3281 to complete this process.  When requesting a replacement card, the P-EBT customer must enter ALL ZEROS for the social security number, the DOB for the child listed on the front of the P-EBT card and zip code.

14. I moved and my card was sent to the wrong address. What should I do?
The family should call the P-EBT card vendor at 888-421-3281 to request a replacement card. The previous address will need to be validated by the client before the case can be updated with the new address. The previously issued card will be locked, and a new card will be mailed to the updated address. 

15. I am not currently receiving SNAP and have more than one child approved for the free or reduced meal programs. Will I receive one card or individual cards for each child? 
Families of eligible students, which were previously issued a SNAP EBT card, may receive benefits on that already existing account – even if they are not currently a SNAP customer. If this original card has been lost, destroyed or stolen, the family will need to order a new card to receive P-EBT benefits (see instructions below).

Families of eligible students, which are not currently receiving SNAP benefits, will be mailed a P-EBT card with preloaded benefits.  A separate card will be issued to each eligible child receiving P-EBT benefits. The family will receive information with the P-EBT card in the mail explaining how to activate and use the P-EBT card. The activation information for the card should be specific for the child listed on the front of the P-EBT card.

Non-SNAP families of eligible students that received P-EBT benefits during the 2019-2020 school term that are also eligible for the 2020-2021 school term, will receive a new P-EBT card.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES

16. Are all children under age six (6) who receive SNAP benefits automatically eligible for P-EBT?
No. The latest amendment to Families First Coronavirus Response Act considers all children under the age of six (6) to be enrolled in a covered childcare facility. However, the state must still confirm that the child’s home address or childcare facility is “in the area” of a closed school or a school operating with reduced attendance or hours before providing P-EBT benefits.

17. Since all children are eligible for free meals in schools that are providing meals through either the 2020-2021 school year initiative or the Summer Food Service Program, are all of these children eligible for P-EBT on days that they do not attend school?
No. Children must be approved as eligible for free or reduced-price meals under the eligibility criteria for the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program, or attend a school participating in Provision 2, Provision 3, or the Community Eligibility Provision in order to be eligible for P-EBT benefits.

18. Children entitled to free meals because all students in the school eat school meals at no cost under the Community Eligible Provision (CEP) program are eligible for P-EBT benefits. These children do not have to receive SNAP or apply for the free or reduced-price meal program. 2020-2021 CEP Schools are:

Download this pdf file. Georgia CEP Schools SY 20-21

NOTE: Data and information related to student eligibility for the P-EBT program are managed by local school districts and schools. Please reach out to your child’s school if you are unsure of the status of your child’s eligibility in the National School Lunch Program and/or School Breakfast Program during the 2020-2021 school year, or of the school’s modes of operation during the 2020-2021 school year.

19. My child was not eligible for free or reduced-price meals for the 2020-2021 school year, but my child has received free or reduced-price meals in previous school years. Will I receive P-EBT benefits for my child?
No. 

20. Some children in schools that are otherwise fully virtual attend school in person for a couple of hours per day; others attend for half a day. May these children receive P-EBT benefits on those days?
Generally, children who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals are eligible for P-EBT benefits on days that they do not receive a meal service at school. The local school districts will identify the predominant learning mode for children in their schools whether fully virtual, fully in-person or hybrid (i.e., some virtual and in-person days) to determine if children were eligible to receive P-EBT benefits. Refer to question #9 to determine the amount a school is approved to receive in P-EBT benefits.

21. My child is in Georgia’s Pre-K Program and is in a public school that participates in the free or reduced meals program. Will Pre-K students receive P-EBT benefits or does that only apply to students in public schools? 
Pre-K students are eligible for P-EBT if the Pre-K students are in a Georgia public school (including Georgia public charter schools) that participates in the federal free or reduced school meals program. Those Pre-K children are included in that program and are potentially eligible to receive P-EBT benefits.

22. My child attends a charter school; will I receive P-EBT benefits for my child?
If your child attended a Georgia public charter school that participated in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast program during the 2020-2021 school year, and your child was eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals, and would have received those meals if not for their school closure or reduced attendance or hours for 5 consecutive days due to COVID-19, you may be  eligible to receive P-EBT benefits.

23. My family lives on a military base and my children attend school on the military base. They do participate in the free or reduced meals program. Are my children eligible for P-EBT?
A P-EBT card will be sent directly to the address on file with the school to each eligible child/children who attends schools on either of these two military bases in Georgia: Fort Stewart and Fort Benning.

24. My child attends a private school. Will I receive P-EBT benefits for my child?
No, only eligible students who attended a Georgia public school (including Georgia public charter schools) that participated in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program during the 2020-2021 school year are eligible to receive P-EBT benefits.

25. Are children who are no longer enrolled in school and are being homeschooled because of COVID-19 eligible to receive P-EBT?
No. Children who are no longer enrolled in an National School Lunch Program/the School Breakfast Program-participating school and are being homeschooled are not eligible to receive P-EBT for school year 2020-2021.

26. How does P-EBT affect children in foster care?
The foster parent or administrator of the facility will determine how to use P-EBT benefits for children currently in their care if the child is not currently receiving SNAP. All children who would receive free or reduced-price meals and attended a Georgia public school (including Georgia public charter schools) are eligible to receive P-EBT benefits. This includes children in foster care as reported by their school.

CUSTOMER INFORMATION

27. Where can I use my P-EBT benefits? What can I buy with them?
You can use your P-EBT benefits at any store that accepts SNAP. Most retailers have signs stating they accept SNAP or EBT. You can also use your P-EBT benefits, similarly to SNAP benefits, to buy groceries online from some major retailers.

28. What is the identification requirement for using the P-EBT card at the grocery store?
By federal statute, retailers cannot ask for personal identification for EBT purchases if they do not request ID on regular debit card purchases. The P-EBT card PIN will serve as the customer’s identification. 

29. Will the benefits expire?
Effective Sept. 23, 2021, all P-EBT benefits must be used within 274 days. Benefits not used within 274 days after your last purchase or return, will be removed from your account and cannot be replaced. Unused funds will go back to Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) after they expire.

30. Do P-EBT benefits replace the current COVID-19 supplements, other SNAP benefits, or meals families may be receiving at this time?
No. P-EBT benefits are in addition to other services and benefits families may be currently receiving due to COVID-19. We encourage families to continue utilizing local school and community meal sites for free, nutritious meals for children.

31. Does P-EBT cost anything?
There is no cost to families as P-EBT benefits are entirely federally funded. 
The state does not provide any of the funds for P-EBT benefits but does incur some modest costs to operate the program.

32. Do I have to pay these benefits back?
No. Families who receive P-EBT benefits will not have to pay back the benefits.

33. What if my children are not eligible for P-EBT?
Families not eligible for P-EBT can contact 211 for assistance from food banks, food pantries or other resources. For more info visit: https://www.unitedway.org/our-impact/featured-programs/2-1-1.

34. May I share my benefits with others that need assistance but were not eligible for P-EBT? 
No. P-EBT benefits are non-transferrable.

35. What if I do not want P-EBT benefits?
Families not interested in receiving P-EBT should destroy the P-EBT card. If they change their mind, they may call the EBT call center at 888-421-3281 to request a replacement card at any time prior to the expiration of the benefits. 
NOTE: All P-EBT benefits must be used within 274 days. Benefits not used within 274 days after your last purchase or return, will be removed from your account and cannot be replaced. Unused funds will go back to Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) after they expire.

Summer P-EBT

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 makes P-EBT benefits available during the summer of 2021 to eligible school children and eligible children in childcare. Summer P-EBT benefits will be issued as an extension of regular P-EBT benefits issued during the 2020-2021 school year.

DFCS is continuing to work with partners to provide Summer P-EBT benefits in the near future

1. How long is the covered summer P-EBT period?
The covered summer period shall not be more than 90 calendar days that follows a school year during which there was a public health emergency declaration. For Georgia, the period of time being considered for the summer P-EBT is June, July and August 2021.

2. How many P-EBT benefit days are in the covered summer period?
The number of P-EBT benefit days equals the number of weekdays during the covered summer period as determined by Food and Nutrition Services.

3. What children are eligible for P-EBT benefits in the summer of 2021? 

A. School children
i. All school children who were approved as eligible for free or reduced-price school meals during the 2020-2021 school year under the National School Lunch Program or the School Breakfast Program are eligible for P-EBT benefits in the summer of 2021. This includes:

  • School children who received P-EBT benefits during the last month of the 2020-2021 school year. Because the covered summer period is an extension of the school year, this includes children who graduate at the end of the school year.
  • School children who were approved as eligible for free or reduced-price school meals under the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program in the 2020-2021 school year, but did not receive P-EBT benefits in the last month of the school year because they attended school in-person and benefitted from a free or reduced-price meal service at school.

ii. Children who are determined newly approved eligible for free or reduced-price school meals during the covered summer period.
iii. Children in schools or school districts that have been newly approved to begin operating under the CEP or under Provisions 2 or 3 in the 2021-2022 school year are only eligible for P-EBT benefits during the covered summer period if they are determined income eligible or categorically eligible for free or reduced-price school meals.

B. Children in childcare
i. SNAP-enrolled children who received P-EBT childcare benefits in the last month of the school year.
ii. 
SNAP-enrolled children who would have received P-EBT childcare benefits in the last month of the school year but did not receive benefits because their childcare facility was not closed or operating at reduced attendance or hours in that month, and neither their childcare facility nor the child’s residence was in the area of a school that was closed or operating at reduced attendance or hours in that month.
iii. SNAP-enrolled children who are born before the end of the covered summer period are eligible for P-EBT benefits for the entire covered summer period.

4. Are P-EBT-eligible SNAP-enrolled children who attend childcare and receive meals through their childcare provider during the covered summer period eligible for summer P-EBT benefits on those days?
Yes, because the
FFCRA deems covered childcare facilities closed during the covered summer period, children may receive meals at their childcare facilities and summer P-EBT benefits for the same day.

Pandemic-EBT Resources

P-EBT online information can be accessed at https://dfcs.georgia.gov/pandemic-electronic-benefit-transfer.

Pandemic-EBT Resources

For state P-EBT general information, email [email protected]

For state P-EBT general information phone number: 404-657-3433

Customer Contact Center (toll-free): 877-423-4746

If you are still having issues, contact the P-EBT direct line at 855-501-INFO (4636).