Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) FAQs
For questions, please contact the Florida Department of Children and Families at 1-833-311-0321
- What is Pandemic EBT (P-EBT)?
P-EBT provides benefits to certain children who receive free and reduced-price school meals under the National School Lunch Act. P-EBT is a temporary food benefit program operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) is collaborating with Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and Florida Department of Education (DOE) to issue P-EBT benefits to families with eligible children for the 2021-2021 school year.
- What is the time frame for these benefits?
The P-EBT program periods is for the 2020-2021 School Year and will be retroactive back to the beginning of the school year. Benefits will extend to the end of the school year and only apply for when school is in session. For example, weekends, teacher planning days, holidays, or school breaks will not be included in the benefits.
- What students are eligible?
A student is eligible for P-EBT benefits if two conditions are met:
1. The student(s) were eligible for free and reduced-price meals if all programs were operating normally during the 2020-2021 school year. This includes students enrolled in a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) school.
2. AND the student was enrolled in a district school as a distance learner or hybrid student.
Students must meet both conditions to be eligible to receive P-EBT benefits.
Students who are enrolled in a brick-and-mortar district school and are not attending school on campus and are considered distance learners are eligible to receive these benefits.
Students who are enrolled in a CEP school and are distance learning are eligible for P-EBT regardless of their free and reduced-price status.
Virtual school-enrolled students are not eligible for P-EBT benefits.
- How much will an eligible child receive?
Each student will receive $6.82 for each day the student does not receive free or reduced-price meals at the school due to school closure, distance learning, or hybrid schedule for at least 5 consecutive days. Weekends, holiday, or school breaks are not included.
The full daily benefit level for each eligible student is equal to the free reimbursement for a breakfast, lunch, and snack for the school year 2020-2021. The benefit is multiplied by the number of days that the student is eligible for P-EBT benefits.
- How are P-EBT benefits issued?
The schools will provide DOE with a list of students from the reporting period and the number of days of eligibility for P-EBT benefits. DOE will send the data to DCF. DCF will calculate the benefits based on the submitted data.
The schools will submit data to DOE three times as follows:
First submission will include student data for August through December 2020 and will be submitted to DOE by April 9th,
Second submission will include student data for January through March 2021 and will be submitted to DOE by May 14th, 2021.
Final submission will include student data for April through June 2021 and will by submitted to DOE by July 16th, 2021.
- How often will P-EBT benefits be issued?
If your student meets the P-EBT eligibility criteria in one of the above time frames, benefits will be provided as follows:
In late April 2021 for the months of August through December
In June 2021 for the months of January through March
In August 2021 for the months of April through June
- Can a family apply for P-EBT benefits?
No. P-EBT does not have an application. Any child qualified for free and reduced-price meals and meet the two conditions for P-EBT benefits will automatically qualify.
- Does a family have to accept the P-EBT benefits?
No, your participation in the program is voluntary. If you choose not to participate, dispose of your card by cutting through the magnetic strip on the card and discard the card in a secure manner. Contact DCF to notify them that you wish to decline benefits. Benefits are not transferrable and cannot be gifted or donated.
- What if I lost my P-EBT card?
Lost or stolen cards can be replaced but the value of any benefits redeemed will not be reissued. Contact DCF for replacement cards.
10. Is P-EBT a replacement for summer meals offered by schools?
No. Schools will continue operating the summer programs and children may receive both P-EBT benefits and continue receiving summer meals.
- Are children who are home-schooled or attend a virtual school eligible for P-EBT?
No, only children who would be receiving free and reduced-price meals through NSLP or SBP and meeting the qualifying criteria are eligible.
- What address will the P-EBT card be sent to?
P-EBT cards will go to the address on file at the school.
- What if a Parent/Guardian has questions about the benefits?
DCF will establish a special call center line and web portal for parents/guardians who have questions or concerns about the P-EBT benefits.
Individuals will be able to register their concerns using the web portal. For those who do not have access to the web portal, concerns may be reported through the DCF P-EBT call center line.
Reported concerns will be sent from DCF to DOE and then to the school or district to resolve the issue.
If you have questions, please contact the Florida Department of Children and Families at 1-833-311-0321.