Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) was introduced in H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act as a solution that delivers nutrition assistance on an EBT card that can be used to purchase groceries for families with school children who qualify for free or reduced price school meals when school is out of session due to a pandemic. If your child already qualified for free or reduced-price meals, or your child attends a Community Eligible Provision (CEP) school where everyone eats at no cost, there is nothing you need to do. You will be notified when the program is implemented.
Who would qualify?
Families with children eligible for free or reduced price meals at schools that have closed due to a pandemic will receive PEBT benefits in the mail. Families will receive one card that is loaded with benefits for all eligible children in the household. If families are currently receiving SNAP benefits the PEBT benefits will be loaded onto their existing SNAP card. The amount loaded onto the card will be no less than the value of school lunch and breakfast, dependent on the amount of time their school will be closed and when free or reduced price benefits were established.
If your child attends a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) school or county, they are eligible to receive P-EBT. The federal legislation was designed that any student that would have had access to free meals if not for COVID-19 closures, are supposed to receive access to this benefit.
Update on P-EBT Cards
For this new benefit program, the USDA has now advised that distributions need to occur in portions, rather than in one lump sum amount. The total amount has not changed for all 3 months of eligibility, but the amounts may come in multiple payments. All benefits were scheduled to be released by the Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) by the end of June 2020.
Calculation of household allotments is based on a rate of $5.70 each day school was closed for each eligible child. The totals for each month are:
- $68.40 per eligible child for March
- $125.40 per eligible child for April, and
- $119.70 per eligible child for May
You may have received a notification letter in the mail that lists the rights and responsibilities as well as other information regarding this new benefit. If you receive this letter, no further action is needed from you. It is intended to provide you with more information about P-EBT.
DHHR began issuing P-EBT to eligible households on their current Mountain State EBT card on May 23, 2020. This was the first wave of distributions in the state as these were the households known to DHHR’s benefit system. Some households did not receive all of their allocated benefits at that time and additional allocations will be made on the Mountain State EBT card or through a new P-EBT card. This occurred if DHHR was unable to successfully match all children to a household in their data system. In that case, you may have received partial benefits in the first wave. Your additional allocations will come either on your original Mountain State EBT card or in a new, separate P-EBT card.
- If your child had a SNAP, TANF, or Medicaid case, the P-EBT benefit card was mailed to the address and guardian on file with the public or private school your child attends. Again, this was only for children who had access to free/reduced price meals through the National School Lunch Program.
- P-EBT benefits that were issued to one guardian cannot be issued or transferred to another guardian. DHHR has advised if your child’s benefits were issued to a different guardian besides yourself, the card will not be reissued due to custody disputes.
The WVDE opened up a claims resolution process on June 30, 2020. This process closed on July 17, 2020.
- Approximately 10,000 tickets were submitted during this time.
- This claims process was not an application for benefits, but allowed a formal ticket to be created for your individual case.
- Due to the high volume of tickets received during this time, it may take up to 4-8 weeks from the time you submitted your form for someone to resolution to be reached on your inquiry. We thank you for your patience while we work through the inquiries received.
If your child had a SNAP, TANF, or Medicaid case with the DHHR, the P-EBT Benefits were issued to your existing cards. If a new card for these cases needed to be issued, it was mailed to the address and guardian on file with these cases. Please note, these benefits could have been added to an old card. If you do not have this card, you will need to contact the DHHR for a replacement card at 1-877-716-1212 or 1-866-545-6502.
If your child does not have a SNAP, TANF, or Medicaid case, the P-EBT Benefit card was mailed to the address and guardian on file with the public or private school your child attends.
If you believe your child or children were eligible and have not received a card for P-EBT or you have an address change/update, you will need to contact the Office of EBT Banking Services. You may do this by telephone or email:
Additional resources in your community may also be available to assist with a variety of needs:
- WV Food Locations
- WV 211 (you may click this link or dial 211 from a telephone to reach an operator)
- Rapid Response WV
- WV Food ER 2020
Frequently Asked Questions
P-EBT is a temporary federal benefit. There are not additional federal funds for future payments at this time.
Cards will be active for 365 days. After this time, unused P-EBT benefits will be removed from the card.
No. P-EBT is a food benefit program that can be used by a vendor that accepts SNAP.
Public schools and other entities have been operating emergency feeding programs through the USDA Summer Food Service Program or the Seamless Summer Option. P-EBT is reimbursing eligible children who had access to free/reduced price meals through the National School Lunch Program. These are separate federal program efforts – and therefore both could be made available in West Virginia.
No. If they did not attend a qualifying school or institution March-May 2020 and they did not receive free/reduced price lunch through the federal school meal programs, they are not eligible.
Eligible households will receive a notification letter from the WV Department of Health and Human Resources.
If you currently receive benefits through WVDHHR on a Mountain State EBT card, the PEBT benefit will be issued to your current Mountain State EBT card on or before the end of May 2020. If you do not currently receive any benefits through WVDHHR, you will receive a Mountain State EBT card in the mail on or before the end of June 2020 with the benefits for your household.
P-EBT cards can be used everywhere that SNAP EBT is used.
If you currently receive SNAP/WVWORKS on a Mountain State EBT card for your eligible student(s), the PEBT benefit will be issued to your current card.
Your child is eligible if their West Virginia non-public school provides free or reduced price lunch through the National School Lunch Program and the school is closed due to COVID-19.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is the source of the federal administration and financial sourcing of this benefit.
Other benefits (such as SNAP and TANF) will not be impacted by receipt or usage of P-EBT.
For general questions on P-EBT, please contact your local Department of Health and Human Resources field office or contact the West Virginia Department of Education at 304-558-2709.
In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.
Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.
To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at How to File a Complaint, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:
- mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
- fax: (202) 690-7442; or
- email: email@example.com.
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.