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FAQs

Updates and Announcements
 

8/24/21 - New features for the P-EBT Parent Portal. We are continuing to issue P-EBT benefits as schools submit their students' eligibility information for summer. Summer benefits and remaining school year benefits, including address changes and other corrections, will continue to be issued over the coming weeks. ... Continued

 

 

 

General Information

What is P-EBT?

P-EBT, or Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer, is food assistance for families of school children who are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or School Breakfast Program (SBP), but are not receiving those meals due to campus closures and/or reduced in-person class schedules related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

The P-EBT program was authorized by Congress in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 for the 2019-20 school year and later reauthorized for the 2020-21 school year.

The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services and Louisiana Department of Education are partnering to provide the program to Louisiana’s eligible students.

How does P-EBT work? Is P-EBT like SNAP?

P-EBT is not SNAP, and you do not have to be eligible for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) to receive P-EBT. However, P-EBT benefits are issued on an EBT card and used just like SNAP benefits.

Will we get Summer P-EBT?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture authorized Summer P-EBT benefits for school-age children who qualified for free or reduced-priced school meals or attended a Community Eligibility Provision school (where all children received free/reduced-price meals, regardless of family income).

For summer P-EBT, each eligible child will receive a one-time payment of $375 to cover both June and July. The program differs from the 2020-21 School Year P-EBT program in that students who attended school in-person, as well as on a hybrid or virtual schedule, would be eligible if they receive free or reduced-price meals and were in school in May 2021.

It includes those eligible for free or reduced-price school meals through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) and those in a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) school, where all children receive free meals regardless of family income, as of May 2021.

Students who were not previously approved for free or reduced-price school meals, but who apply by July 30, 2021, and are later approved, will also be eligible to receive Summer P-EBT.

Click here for more details.

 

Application, Address Changes

Do I need to apply for P-EBT? What if I got P-EBT last year?

No, there is no application for P-EBT for 2020-21, regardless of whether you received P-EBT before or not. Schools will provide a list of students meeting the eligibility criteria (see below) to DCFS for purposes of distributing P-EBT benefits to those families. The State will then mail a P-EBT card to each eligible child.

How do I report my child's address change in time to get P-EBT benefits?

All student information and changes must be verified by the child's school. This includes address changes, which must be handled at the school and/or school district level to ensure that the child's card is going to the correct household. If you need to change an address, you must follow your school's or school district's process for submitting and verifying address changes, which may include providing proof of residency forms in person at your child's school. If you need to change an address, you must call the school or school district. Once the school or school district updates the information in the P-EBT system, DCFS will be able to issue benefits and order a P-EBT card for your child. Changing your address will delay the issuance of a new card, but your child will receive their P-EBT benefits.

Note: P-EBT cards cannot be forwarded. If a card has already been issued to a child and sent to an old address, the old card will be returned to the sender and deactivated.

I changed my address with my child's school. How long before I see the change in the Parent Portal and receive the child's P-EBT card?

Once a school verifies the change of address and formally submits a change, the update will appear in the Parent Portal in 1-2 weeks from the date DCFS received the change. Updates of this kind are run weekly and appear in the Parent Portal on Wednesdays. A new replacement card would be issued the next day and may take up to 30 days to arrive by mail.

How will I know my child has been approved for benefits? Will I receive any communication prior to receiving a P-EBT card?

DCFS is working with the Louisiana Department of Education, local school districts and schools to gather information for eligible students. After schools supply information about each student’s eligibility, DCFS will confirm the information and process the student's benefits.

Eligible students’ families can expect to receive a flyer in the mail from DCFS informing them that their school has provided all needed information and that they can expect to receive P-EBT cards within 30 days of the flyer being received.

If you have questions about your child’s eligibility or benefit level, please contact your local school district.

 

Who is eligible? Which schools qualify?

Who is eligible for P-EBT?

A child is eligible for P-EBT for 2020-21 if:

  • The child would be eligible for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and/or School Breakfast Program (SBP) if schools were operating normally (including children who attend Community Eligibility Provision schools where all students are provided free or reduced-price meals); AND
  • The child has not received free or reduced-price meals at the school because the school is closed or has been operating with reduced attendance or hours for at least 5 consecutive days in the current school year. Once the minimum 5 consecutive day threshold is met, children are eligible to receive P-EBT benefits for closures or reductions in hours due to COVID-19. This includes virtual (by computer) and hybrid (partially computer-based and partially in person) learning schedules.

For the 2020-21 school year, each school or district will provide a list of children meeting the above eligibility criteria to DCFS for purposes of distributing P-EBT benefits to those families. 

To check the status of the information that your child’s school has submitted to DCFS, please click here. Schools are color-coded by whether their information has submitted and not processed (yellow), has been submitted and processed (green), has not been submitted (red) or does not have eligible students (grey). If you have questions about your child’s school’s status, please contact the school or the school district. Contact information for schools and school districts can be found here.

PLEASE NOTE: Eligibility is determined on a month-by-month basis, based on the information the child's school reports to DCFS about the child's learning model. If a child's learning schedule changes (e.g., from virtual to hybrid, vice versa, or to in-person), their eligibility and benefit level also will change. As benefits are issued, parents can see their child's eligibility status by month in the P-EBT Parent Portal. For each month that a child is listed as "eligible" in the Parent Portal, they will receive benefits for that month.

Does my child's school qualify for P-EBT?

Please see our School Eligibility FAQs for information about Community Eligibility Provision schools, private schools, virtual schools, homeschools, and other school-related eligibility questions.

Has my child's school submitted information on eligible students to DCFS?

To check the status of the information that your child’s school has submitted to DCFS, please click here. Schools are color-coded by whether their information has submitted and not processed (yellow), has been submitted and processed (green), has not been submitted (red) or does not have eligible students (grey). If you have questions about your child’s school’s status, please contact the school or the school district. Contact information for schools and school districts can be found here.

My child switched learning schedules (from virtual to hybrid or vice versa) during the 2020-21 school year. Will they be counted as virtual or hybrid?

Eligibility is determined on a month-by-month basis, based on the information the child's school reports to DCFS about the child's learning model. If a child's learning schedule changes (e.g., from virtual to hybrid, vice versa, or to in-person), their eligibility and benefit level also will change. As benefits are issued, parents can see their child's eligibility status by month in the P-EBT Parent Portal. For each month that a child is listed as "eligible" in the Parent Portal, they will receive benefits for that month.

We received grab-and-go meals through our school or participated in another meal program. Can we still get P-EBT?

Yes. Participation in grab-and-go or other meal programs (e.g., SNAP, WIC) does not affect a child’s eligibility for P-EBT. If the student is eligible for free or reduced-price school meals and was on a virtual (by computer) or hybrid (partially computer-based and partially in person) learning schedule, they are eligible for P-EBT. 

Does it matter if my household already receives SNAP? Will getting P-EBT impact my SNAP benefits?

It doesn’t matter if your household already receives SNAP for this program. P-EBT is not SNAP, and receiving P-EBT will not alter your SNAP benefits. 

My child attended a Louisiana school during the 2020-21 school year, but we’ve moved to another state now. Can we get P-EBT? Can we use the benefits in our new state?

Yes. As long as the student attended a Louisiana school during the 2020-21 school year and meets the eligibility requirements for P-EBT (eligible for free or reduced-price school meals and on a virtual or hybrid learning schedule at their Louisiana school), you can get P-EBT and use the benefits in your new home state. P-EBT cards can be used in any state in the U.S. or its territories.

Benefits

How much will I get in P-EBT benefits?

Benefit amounts are based on whether a child is in a fully virtual (by computer) or hybrid (partially computer-based and partially in person) learning schedule. Students on a fully virtual learning schedule will receive $120.71 per month, and students on a hybrid schedule will receive $48.23 per month, for each month during the school year. These amounts were calculated based on federal reimbursement rates for school meal programs.

Eligibility is determined on a month-by-month basis based on the information the child's school reports to DCFS about the child's learning schedule. If a child's learning schedule changes, their benefit amount will change accordingly. As benefits are issued, parents can see their child's eligibility status by month in the P-EBT Parent Portal. For each month that a child is listed as "eligible" in the Parent Portal, they will receive benefits for that month.

How was it decided whether a student was “virtual” or “hybrid” for the P-EBT benefits?

A student’s classification as “virtual” or “hybrid” depends on the number of school days in a given month the student attended school via remote instruction (completely by computer) versus face-to-face instruction.

If a student received remote instruction for half or more of the school days in a given month, they should be considered “virtual” for that month. If the student received remote instruction for some but less than half of the school days in a given month, they should be considered “hybrid” for that month.

Students who received face-to-face instruction for all school days in a given month would not be eligible for P-EBT for that month.

School systems are utilizing attendance records/codes and the student’s selected mode of instruction to determine each student’s eligibility.

Please NOTE: Eligibility is determined on a month-by-month basis based on the information the child's school reports to DCFS. As benefits are issued, parents can see their child's eligibility status by month in the P-EBT Parent Portal. For each month that a child is listed as "eligible" in the Parent Portal, they will receive benefits for that month.

For questions about your child’s attendance or additional questions about your child’s P-EBT eligibility, please contact your school.

When will P-EBT benefits be issued for the 2020-21 school year?

P-EBT benefits for the 2020-21 school year will be issued in installments over the Summer of 2021:

  • August 2020-October 2020 benefits were issued beginning in June.
  • November 2020-January 2021 benefits were issued beginning in July.
  • February 2021-May 2021 benefits are scheduled to be issued beginning in August.

PLEASE NOTE: Eligibility is determined on a month-by-month basis, based on the information the child's school reports to DCFS. As benefits are issued, parents can see their child's eligibility status by month in the P-EBT Parent Portal. For each month that a child is listed as "eligible" in the Parent Portal, they will receive benefits for that month.

Due to the number of cards being issued, it may take several weeks for you to receive your child’s card. Please be patient and do not request a new card, as that would only cause more delay.

Cards will be issued as DCFS receives information from each school. Therefore, families with more than one child may receive their children’s cards at different times, according to when each child’s school submitted their information. 

How will I know my child has been approved for benefits? Will I receive any communication prior to receiving a P-EBT card?

DCFS is working with the Louisiana Department of Education, local school districts and schools to gather information for eligible students. After schools supply information about each student’s eligibility, DCFS will confirm the information and process the student's benefits.

Eligible students’ families can expect to receive a flyer in the mail from DCFS informing them that their school has provided all needed information and that they can expect to receive P-EBT cards within 30 days of the flyer being received.

If you have questions about your child’s eligibility or benefit level, please contact your local school district.

Eligibility is determined on a month-by-month basis, based on the information the child's school reports to DCFS. As benefits are issued, parents can see their child's eligibility status by month in the P-EBT Parent Portal. For each month that a child is listed as "eligible" in the Parent Portal, they will receive benefits for that month.

How will P-EBT benefits be issued? Will they be on my SNAP card? Will they be on the P-EBT card I got last year?

P-EBT benefits will be issued on a Louisiana Purchase EBT card. A separate card will be issued for each eligible child, and each card will be in the recipient child's name. Each child's card will be mailed to the address provided by the child's school or district. 

P-EBT benefits will NOT be loaded onto SNAP recipients' regular SNAP EBT cards. 

P-EBT benefits for 2020-21 will NOT be loaded onto the same P-EBT cards used for the 2019-20 school year.

IMPORTANT: Please keep your new P-EBT card, as future P-EBT benefits for each eligible child will be loaded to the same card.

Will the P-EBT benefits cover the whole 2020-21 school year?

Yes. P-EBT benefits will be retroactive to Aug. 1, 2020 to cover the whole school year. Each school or district will provide a list of children meeting the eligibility criteria to the State for purposes of distributing P-EBT benefits to eligible families.

PLEASE NOTE: Eligibility is determined on a month-by-month basis, based on the information the child's school reports to DCFS. If a student's learning model changes (e.g., from virtual to hybrid, vice versa, or to in-person), their eligibility and benefit level also will change. As benefits are issued, parents can see their child's eligibility status by month in the P-EBT Parent Portal. For each month that a child is listed as "eligible" in the Parent Portal, they will receive benefits for that month.

Benefits for the 2020-21 school year will be issued in installments over the Summer of 2021:

  • August 2020-October 2020 benefits were issued beginning in June.
  • November 2020-January 2021 benefits were issued beginning in July.
  • February 2021-May 2021 benefits are scheduled to be issued beginning in August.

Are P-EBT benefits transferable? Can I give away or sell my card? What if I don't want the benefits?

P-EBT benefits are non-transferable. If you wish to decline the benefits, please destroy the card.

It is illegal to sell, trade or give away your P-EBT benefits, PIN or Louisiana EBT card; to allow a retailer to buy your food benefits in exchange for cash; and to use someone else's P-EBT benefits or Louisiana EBT card for your household. If you are found guilty of intentional program violations, you will be disqualified from SNAP benefits and will have to pay back any unauthorized P-EBT benefits issued.

 

Corrections

My child’s school confirmed they submitted all required information. How long before I can see and link my child’s P-EBT case in the Parent Portal? When would my child receive their card?

Once a school submits all required information correctly, your child’s case can be linked in the Parent Portal 1-2 weeks from the date DCFS approves the submission. At first, your child’s case will appear with a status of “Awaiting Issuance.” That means the child is in line for benefits to be issued. The status will change to “Eligible” once the child’s card/benefits are issued (within 1-2 weeks). A P-EBT flyer will be arriving by mail, followed by the card. Please allow 30 days from receipt of the flyer for the card to arrive.

I changed my address with my child’s school. How long before I see the change in the Parent Portal? If my child’s card was sent to the old address, when will we receive the replacement card?

Once a school verifies the change of address and formally submits a change, the update will appear in the Parent Portal in 1-2 weeks from the date DCFS received the change. Updates of this kind are run weekly and appear in the Parent Portal on Wednesdays. A new replacement card would be issued the next day and may take up to 30 days to arrive by mail.

What do these benefits status messages mean? What is "awaiting issuance"?

Once you have linked your child’s P-EBT case, you will see a benefits status of either “eligible” or “awaiting issuance.”

  • “Eligible” means the benefits have been issued.
  • “Awaiting issuance” means the child’s case is in process, but benefits have not yet been issued.

My child received P-EBT benefits for a hybrid learning style when they were actually fully virtual. The school confirmed there was an error and submitted the corrected information to DCFS. How long before I see the change in the Parent Portal? When would my child receive the additional benefits?

Changes in learning style will be processed after all benefits for the 2020-21 school year have been issued. Learning style updates will start reflecting in the Parent Portal beginning late August. The benefits will be issued and available on cards within days of the change appearing in the portal.

My child hasn’t received any P-EBT benefits (or received benefits in the first issuance but not in the second issuance, even though they were still hybrid/virtual). My school confirmed my child is eligible and said they submitted all the information to DCFS. When will my child receive their benefits?

If the information submitted to DCFS contains a data error, the school must correct the data and resubmit the information to DCFS. Once a school submits all required information correctly, the case can be processed. Updates of this kind are run weekly, and the change will appear in the Parent Portal on Wednesdays. The benefits will be issued and available on cards within days of the change appearing in the portal.

My child received benefits for one or two months, but not the other month that was supposed to have been issued, even though they were hybrid/virtual during that time (e.g., We got benefits for November and December, but not January, even though we were still hybrid/virtual). My school confirmed my child is eligible for benefits for the missing month and said they submitted the corrected information to DCFS. When will my child receive their benefits for the missing month?

Once a school has submitted all required information correctly, the additional benefits can be processed. Updates of this kind are processed weekly, with the change appearing in the Parent Portal on Wednesdays. The benefits will be issued and available on cards within days of the change appearing in the portal.

 

Card Activation

How do I activate and PIN my P-EBT card?

To activate and PIN the card, call 1-888-997-1117 and follow the prompts. You will need the following information ready:

  • Your child's 16-digit card number
  • Your child's last 4 digits of their Local Student ID. Enter this four-digit number when prompted to enter the last four digits of the Social Security Number.
  • Your child's date of birth
  • Your child's mailing address

These instructions will also be mailed with the P-EBT card.

NOTE: PINs selected with any of the below patterns are NOT allowed:

  • Identical digits (1111, 2222, 3333, etc.)
  • Consecutive digits (1234, 2345, 3456, etc.)
  • Numbers that start with one or more zeroes (0657, 0051, 0001, etc.)
  • The last four digits of the child's Student ID number
  • The cardholder's birthdate

Where can I find my child's Local Student ID to activate their P-EBT card?

Each school is different, but some key places where your child's Local Student ID might be found are:

  • Student's Report Card
  • Student Grades Portal
  • School ID Card
  • Student’s Login to the Computer
  • Student Library Card
  • Student’s Medical Records Portal
  • Student’s IEP Record

If you cannot find your child's Local Student ID, you will need to contact the school.

All of my information is correct, but I still can’t activate my child’s card. What can I do?

If you’ve entered your child’s 16-digit card number, the last 4 digits of their Student ID, their date of birth and their mailing address ZIP code and still can’t activate your child’s card, here are some questions and troubleshooting tips to consider:

  • Do you have the right student ID? See the question above for places to look for your child’s Local Student ID.
  • Did your child switch schools in the 2020-21 school year? If the Student ID from your child’s current school didn’t work, try the Student ID from the previous school.
  • Is there a letter (i.e. A, B, C) in the last 4 digits of your child’s School ID? Contact DCFS through LAHelpU or Facebook for a code to enter in place of the Student ID.
  • Are you using the P-EBT card that’s associated with the child? All P-EBT card numbers begin with a “99.” Otherwise, all Louisiana Purchase EBT cards look alike. Make sure the card has the child’s name on it, that it’s not an old P-EBT card, or a SNAP or DSNAP card.
  • Did you confirm your child’s information with your school? Some parents have reported the school had an incorrect date of birth for the child. Whatever information was entered into the P-EBT system is what you will need to activate the card!
  • ZIP Code. This should be your mailing address ZIP code, but some parents have found success entering their child's school ZIP code or the ZIP code of their School District/School Board Office.
  • Are you typing too fast? Believe it or not, if all the information is correct, the system still needs you to slow down and enter everything -- one digit at a time. 

How do I check my balance or use my card?

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