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.

Students who attend school in person and receive free school meals are no longer eligible for P-EBT benefits. P-EBT is intended to cover breakfast, lunch, and a snack for eligible children who would have received these meals at their school five days a week. The benefit for the 2021-2022 school year is valued at $7.10 per school day, however, the State will issue a fix amount of $127.80 per month to students receiving full-time, virtual instruction for a full virtual month of enrollment or for a full hybrid month of enrollment.

Only students participating in fully virtual learning programs will receive P-EBT benefits this school year. The student must be participating in a program sanctioned by his or her school district and receiving remote instruction from a teacher assigned by that school.

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

The P-EBT benefit amount for each eligible student is dependent on the learning model the student was in for each month of the school year 2020-2021.  The learning model is determined by the Local School System for each school in Maryland. Benefit amounts can differ from child to child.

P-EBT benefit amount is calculated for each month and is based on the majority of students’ experience in the school for the majority of each month. Students attending schools whose learning model is in-person, in which students are attending in-person for the majority of the month, are not eligible for P-EBT benefits for that month.

Maryland schools have opened safely and effectively. Students attending school in-person are not eligible for P-EBT benefits. All local school systems were directed to open for in-person instruction by March 1, 2021.  Information on the reopening of Maryland schools can be found at website.

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.

Who will get P-EBT?

Maryland Families who Do Not Receive SNAP Benefits

Maryland schools have opened safely and effectively. All local school systems were directed to open for in-person instruction by March 1, 2021. Students attending school in-person for the majority of the month, are not eligible for P-EBT benefits for that month. Information on the reopening of Maryland schools can be found at website.

Youth in Foster Care

Youth in foster care who are eligible to receive free and reduced-price meals at school or attend a CEP school are eligible for the Pandemic-EBT benefits.

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.

Children Under the Age of Six
Childcare Eligibility: Beginning October 1, 2020, P-EBT eligibility was expanded to include certain children under the age of six in households that received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit. Under this provision, your child who is on your SNAP case is eligible for P-EBT if:

  • the child lives in Baltimore City or a county in Maryland in which at least one school is closed or operating at reduced capacity due to COVID-19, or the child’s daycare facility is closed or is operating at reduced hours due to COVID-19.

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.

When Will Families Get Their Benefits?

All benefits have been issued for the school year 2021-22. For those children eligible for P-EBT Benefits this year issuances are anticipated to resume in February 2022. Maryland has yet to receive approval for 2022. This section will be updated when appropriate.

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 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).