Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) was first 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.

In West Virginia, this was a one-time payment in most cases during the spring/summer of 2020.

However, there are new parameters for School Year 2020-21 and the benefit will be around a little bit longer.

Please note: All West Virginia public schools are providing meals without cost or application this school year due to special emergency waivers from USDA.  This does not mean all students will qualify for P-EBT.

P-EBT in School Year 2020-21 has the following guidelines:

  • Students must be enrolled in a school that participates in the National School Lunch Program.
  • Students must qualify for free or reduced-price school meals or attend a school where everyone eats school meals for free due to the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP).
  • Students cannot receive benefits for days they are in-person at school. Only remote or virtual days can be used when calculating benefit levels.

The benefits are based upon each eligible student’s individual enrollment situation and the number of days the student participated in remote learning.

Students are not eligible for in-person class days. Benefits are issued retrospectively – which means, a student’s benefit amount was evaluated based on a period of time that has already passed.

Benefits are not calculated on weekends, holidays, non-instructional school closures, or any day the student is receiving instruction in-person.

The benefit is valued at $6.82 for each eligible day in a month during the 2020-21 school year.

P-EBT will be issued in 2-month benefit periods, retroactively.

Issuance Benefit Determination Period Month Benefit is Issued
Issuance 1 August/September 2020 March 2021
Issuance 2 October/November 2020 April 2021
Issuance 3 December 2020/January 2021 May 2021
Issuance 4 February/March 2021 June 2021
Issuance 5 April/May 2021 July 2021
Issuance 6 June 2021 * August 2021

* Please note: Some school calendars will end in May, while others will end in June. Check with your county or school on when your school year ends. If an eligible student has remote instruction days in June, they will receive a benefit for the appropriate level.

Cards will be mailed to the address on file with your child’s school. Cards will be issued in the student’s name. Each eligible student will receive a card in their name.

Your student’s card will arrive in a plain white envelope. It will have a South Dakota return address on it. Please be watching for this in the mail. It will look plain – and could resemble junk mail.

Yes, students will be issued a new card for this school year. Please keep it for the duration of the school year. Cards will be issued in the student’s name. Each eligible student will receive a card, so if you have two eligible students in your household, they will each receive a card in their name.

P-EBT for school-aged children will not be issued on existing Mountain State EBT cards.

Families will receive a letter in the mail as a receipt each month, which details how much their student was eligible to receive for the benefit determination period.

Determination for a student’s benefit level is made using the enrollment data on file with the local county board of education or school.

It is possible even within the same household, for children to receive varying benefit amounts based upon their individual circumstances. Your student will receive a letter customized for them that details their benefit level.

Each eligible student’s benefit is based on their specific school enrollment status. Please remember your child’s benefit is based on their enrollment situation due to COVID-19 in the current school year.

You can purchase the same things allowable by SNAP. This information can be found at  P-EBT benefits cannot be used at a restaurant or ATM. There is no cash value for this benefit.

No, the student is not eligible because they do not attend a school that participates in the National School Lunch Program.

There are a limited number of private schools that participate in the NSLP. Only students who qualify for free or reduced-price school meals at those participating institutions will qualify on remote or virtual days. In-person learning days won’t qualify for benefit days.

Unfortunately, if your child’s private school is not a participating school, the student is not eligible for P-EBT.

Please click here to learn more about private schools in West Virginia participating in NSLP in the 2020-21 school year.

Head Start children are eligible for P-EBT.

No, students are eligible by attending a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) school, directly certified (receiving a DHHR benefit like SNAP) or has applied for free/reduced lunches through the NSLP.

Any unused P-EBT benefits will be returned to the federal government in 274 days after issuance.

P-EBT is non-transferable and is meant to purchase food for the student listed on the card only. It cannot be transferred or donated to another child if you choose not to use it. If you do not wish to utilize P-EBT benefits, destroy the card in an appropriate manner. Unused funds are sent back to the US Treasury at the end of the expungement period.

USDA released guidance on how states can offer P-EBT to children in childcare on January 29, 2021. The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WVDHHR) are working diligently to review the guidance and ensure all qualifying children will receive the benefits.  West Virginia made the decision to issue  P-EBT for the student population while waiting on this necessary guidance.

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 did not have 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.

WVDE/WVDHHR will use the current mailing address from your student’s school record. If that address is not correct, the P-EBT card will be recorded as undeliverable in the WVDE system. WVDE will work with county board of educations and will attempt to contact you for corrected mailing address information. If possible, contact your school now to update the address in your student’s school record.

Foster care children who are eligible under the established criteria will receive P-EBT benefits. Because of the possibility of placement changes since the last P-EBT enrollment period, WVDHHR will work with WVDE to identify those eligible foster care students attending identified schools with qualifying events and issue a new card. Cards will be mailed in the student’s name and will not group multiple children together. The mailing address identified within the WVDE records for the student will be utilized for mailing of cards. This process will be the same for all eligible foster care children, including those in congregate care.

No. Using P-EBT will not impact your or your child’s public charge status. The Public Charge rule does not apply to P-EBT benefits.

Additional resources in your community may be able to assist with a variety of needs – to include food and grocery support.

Click any of the organizations below to find community resources near you.

304-756-5431 (304-756-KID1) – Monday to Friday (8:00 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.)

If you have additional questions about West Virginia’s P-EBT, you may email to contact your local DHHR field office or the WVDE at 304-558-2709.