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 to operate the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program for the School Year (SY) 2021-2022.

School Year (SY) 2021-2022

Standard for P-EBT Eligibility for Students

School children are eligible for P-EBT benefits if they are eligible for free or reduced price meals, but are unable to receive those meals due to reasons listed below:

  1. A child’s school is closed (including any delayed start or early closure to the school year), or the school is operating with reduced attendance or hours
  2. A Child is absent from school due to a COVID-19 related reason
  3. A Child is enrolled in a virtual learning program established by his or her school district in effort to mitigate the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is P-EBT?

These benefits, called Pandemic-EBT, or P-EBT, are intended to help families in Maryland purchase food while schools are closed due to COVID-19.

P-EBT Issuance Overview

All benefits will be issued retroactively. The amount of benefits will vary depending on each eligible child’s individual circumstances. Because the vast majority of schools have returned to in-person learning and the benefits are limited to individuals with COVID19-related absences, a child may receive benefits for some months and receive nothing for others. In general, benefits will be calculated in accordance with the table below.

Tier Number of Days Absent Standard Benefits
Tier A 1 to 5 days 3 days = $21.30
Tier B 6 to 15 days 10 days= $71.00
Tier C 16 and more days 18 days= $127.50

*First issuance will be completed by the end of July 2022; issuance contingent upon data obtained from child(s) school

How To Activate Your P-EBT Card

How do I activate the card?

Call the phone number 1800-997-2222 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?

  • Students who are receiving SNAP benefits and are eligible for the P-EBT benefits will receive P-EBT cards. SNAP recipients who might have previously received their P-EBT benefits on their EBT card, will be mailed a P-EBT card. No P-EBT benefits will be issued on EBT cards.
  • If your child remains eligible for P-EBT benefits during the 2021-2022 school year, the student will receive their P-EBT benefits on the card already issued.
  • We will mail you a new P-EBT card if your child is being issued P-EBT benefits for the first time this year

When Will Families Get Their Benefits?

The P-EBT benefits for School Year 2021-2022 will be issued according to the schedule below:

Benefit Month (s) (UPDATE) Estimated Benefit Distribution Date
September 2021 to February 2022 End of July 2022
March 2022 and April 2022 End of August 2022
May 2022 and June 2022 End of August 2022

Expungement of P-EBT Benefits

  • Expungement is the removal of unused benefits from the EBT card due to inactivity.
  • Benefits will be expunged after 9 months of inactivity. If there are remaining benefits on your P-EBT card, it is important that you use your card at least once every 9 months to prevent the benefits from being expunged.
  • The State is not able to restore expunged benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Additional Resources

Apply for SNAP Benefits

Apply for the Free and Reduced Price Meals Program

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

Visit MDsummermeals.org to find sites serving “grab & go” meals for youth

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