Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) Program

Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) Program

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The Maryland Department of Human Services in conjunction with the Maryland State Department of Education has secured approval from the USDA on its joint submission to operate a Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) Program.

Approximately 467,000 children in Maryland will benefit from the P-EBT program for a combined value of over $173 million in estimated benefits. Families will receive up to $370.50 per child in extra food benefits.

What is P-EBT?

Due to COVID-19 related school closures, children who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals will get up to $370.50 in extra food benefits. These benefits, called Pandemic-EBT, or P-EBT, are intended to help families in Maryland purchase food while schools are closed.

How To Activate Your P-EBT Card

How do I activate the card?
Call the phone number on the back of the card. You will need the 16 digit EBT card number on the front of the card, your zip code, and the date of birth of the eligible child listed on the card. When prompted to enter the last four digits of your Social Security Number, enter 0000. You will then need to set a four-digit pin number.

How do I use the card?
Once activated, the card can be used to purchase eligible food items anywhere SNAP/EBT cards are accepted. When making food purchases, you will need to use the PIN number you created when you first activated your P-EBT card. The card can be used in the point of sale device, just like a debit card, or can be handed to the cashier.

How will Families get P-EBT?

Maryland Families who Do Not Receive SNAP Benefits
If your children receive free and reduced priced meals at school, they are eligible for the Pandemic-EBT Program. Children attending a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) school are also automatically eligible for P-EBT.

There’s no need to apply – Eligible families will receive a confirmation letter, and they’ll receive one P-EBT card for each eligible child. P-EBT cards will be mailed to families by the end of June.

Eligible families will receive up to $370.50 per child.

Maryland Families who Currently Receive SNAP Benefits
If your children receive free and reduced priced meals at school, they are eligible for the Pandemic-EBT Program.

There’s no need to apply – If you currently receive SNAP benefits, additional P-EBT benefits for each eligible child will be added to your existing EBT card.

Eligible families will receive up to $370.50 per child.

Youth in Foster Care
Youth in foster care who either receive free and reduced priced meals at school or attend a CEP school are eligible for the Pandemic-EBT Program.

They do not need to apply for the P-EBT Program. Youth in foster care will receive up to $370.50 in P-EBT benefits.

For those foster youth who receive SNAP benefits, their P-EBT benefits will be added to their existing EBT card.

Foster youth who do not receive SNAP benefits will receive a confirmation letter and a P-EBT card will be issued in their name and mailed before the end of June.

Families Experiencing Homelessness
If your children are eligible for P-EBT benefits but you are currently homeless, please contact your child’s school’s Homeless Coordinator to learn how to access your P-EBT card.

Click here for a list of Maryland School Homeless Coordinators.

When will Families get their Benefits?

P-EBT benefits are calculated based on when schools closed to students – March 16, 2020 – and the cost of school meals.

If you are currently receiving SNAP benefits and qualify for the P-EBT program, your P-EBT benefits will be added to your EBT card before the end of June.

If your household does not receive SNAP benefits and your children are eligible for the P-EBT program, a P-EBT card in the name of each eligible child will be mailed before the end of June. Families should expect to receive the P-EBT card within 7-10 business days of the card being mailed.

At a Glance

Download a Copy of the
Pandemic EBT Flyer

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Pandemic EBT?
Who is eligible for P-EBT benefits?
If I receive P-EBT benefits, will it impact my immigration status or make me a public charge?
My family needs food now, what can we do?
If eligible, how much in P-EBT benefits will I get?
When will I get P-EBT benefits?
What can I buy with P-EBT benefits?
How do I use a P-EBT card?
How long do I have to use my P-EBT benefits?
What will happen to my P-EBT card if my family has moved?
What should I do if I do not want the P-EBT benefits?
What do I do if my P-EBT card is lost?
How do I activate my card?
I’ve received multiple P-EBT cards. Which one do I use?
Who receives the P-EBT benefit for eligible children?
Are Head Start children eligible for P-EBT benefits?
Are home-schooled children eligible for P-EBT?
Are Non US. Citizen children eligible for P-EBT?
Do young adults (ages 19 to 21) who are still in school and who receive free and/or reduced-price meals qualify for P-EBT food benefits?
Does my foster child qualify for P-EBT food benefits if the child received free or reduced-price meals?
Will the P-EBT food benefits program continue through the summer?
Will I need to pay back my child/children’s P-EBT food benefits?

Additional Resources

Families who believe their child may be eligible should contact their school. The school will guide families through the application process.

For more information please call
the Maryland Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) Hotline at
1-833-330-PEBT (1-833-330-7328).