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Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) Program

P-EBT Application Deadline Passed; Application Portal CLOSED

— The deadline for families to apply for the Louisiana Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program was June 15 at 4:30 pm. That deadline has now passed, and the application portal is closed.

— For information on other meal programs available in your area, contact your local school system or consult a parish-by-parish list and map of school meal sites on the COVID-19 page on the Louisiana Department of Education’s website.

View the Department of Education Pandemic EBT flyer

Pandemic-EBT Available For Students Receiving Free or Reduced-Price School Meals

$285 Per Child Makes Up For Costs Of Breakfast, Lunch They Would Have Received At School


Amid the ongoing public health crisis, Louisiana has been approved for the new Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program. This program will provide extra help buying groceries for the families of the more than 600,000 children who normally receive free and reduced-price meals at school.

Eligible families who complete an online application will be issued a P-EBT debit card by Louisiana DCFS to access benefits. The P-EBT card will function like a standard EBT card, and the same guidelines will apply.

Families will receive $285 in total P-EBT benefits per child. Those who applied for free or reduced-price meals after the P-EBT program was announced in May will receive $91.20 per child. Unused benefits will roll over month to month and must be used within 365 days.


requirements

Eligibility Requirements


As school facilities remain closed, households that meet the following criteria may now be eligible to receive P-EBT benefits to help them buy food for their children:

  • Households with one or more students who were enrolled in pre-K through 12th grade.
  • Students normally receive free and reduced-price meals at school or attended a school that offered discounted meals to all students regardless of household income.
  • Regardless of household income, children who attend a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) school are eligible. List of Louisiana CEP Schools

apply

How to Apply for P-EBT

The online application opened at 8 a.m. on Monday, 5/18/20. The original deadline of June 8 was extended to 4:30 p.m. on June 15. That deadline has now passed, and the application portal is CLOSED.


disbursement

P-EBT Disbursement Dates

  • UPDATED -- If you applied by May 25 at 4:30 p.m. and were approved, the card(s) should arrive in the mail the week of June 8.
  • If you applied between May 25 at 4:30 p.m. and June 1 at 4:30 p.m. and are approved, you can expect to receive your card(s) by June 13.
  • If you apply between June 1 at 4:30 p.m. and June 8 at 4:30 p.m. and are approved, you can expect to receive your card(s) by June 19.
  • If you apply after June 8 at 4:30 p.m. and the new deadline of June 15 at 4:30 p.m. and are approved, you can expect to receive your card(s) by June 26.

faq

P-EBT Program - Frequently Asked Questions


p_ebt_general

General Information

What is P-EBT?

It's an acronym for Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer. EBT is the means for issuing benefits provided by the Department of Children and Family Services.

Who created P-EBT? Who runs it?

Congress authorized the P-EBT program in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020. The program is overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered in Louisiana by the state Department of Children and Family Services and state Department of Education.

What's the purpose of P-EBT?

P-EBT provides benefits to households with children who have temporarily lost access to free or reduced-price school meals due to pandemic-related school closures.

How does P-EBT work?

The Department of Education will identify eligible children, and local school systems will notify these families to apply. The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) will issue a P-EBT debit card loaded with the National School Breakfast and School Lunch Program reimbursement amounts for each eligible child. The household may use the P-EBT card to buy food.

Is P-EBT like SNAP?

P-EBT is similar to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in that the household uses an EBT card (called a Louisiana Purchase card in our state) to buy food. Some differences are that the P-EBT application process is shorter and the money is specifically intended to replace meals that a student would have received for free or at a reduced price at school.


p_ebt_benefits

Benefits

How much P-EBT money do eligible families receive?

The amount is $285 per eligible child. That’s $5.70 for each of the 50 days that school was closed from March 16 through May 22. Parents who applied for free or reduced-price meals after the P-EBT program was announced will receive $91.20/child, which covers the cost of meals for the 16 school days in May.

Is the benefit a one-time payment?

Yes. It covers the cost of breakfast and lunch that students would have received at school in the 50 days schools were closed due to the pandemic.

Is the benefit retroactive to the beginning of school closures? Does it cover all meals to the end of the school year?

Yes, P-EBT covers school meals missed since March 16, the first day that schools closed for the pandemic, through May 22, for a total of 50 school days.

 When will benefits be available on cards?

The cards that are mailed to eligible households will already have benefits loaded.

I applied for P-EBT benefits for more than one child, but my card is loaded with benefits for only one child (or for fewer children than applied for).

If you received a "successfully submitted" notice when submitting your application(s), your P-EBT benefits are on the way!

If you submitted separate applications for your children, you may receive a P-EBT card that is initially loaded with benefits only for the eligible child(ren) listed on your first application. Benefits for eligible children included in later applications would either be added to the P-EBT card you already received or loaded onto a second P-EBT card that would be sent to you for those additional children. (Whether the additional benefits are loaded onto your existing P-EBT card or included on a separate P-EBT card depends on whether the information you provided on each application was enough for the system to recognize that the same parent submitted both applications.)

How long do P-EBT recipients have to use the benefit?

Households may access all benefits on the card for 365 days.


p_ebt_cards

P-EBT Cards

What does the Louisiana P-EBT card look like?

Louisiana P-EBT card

What does the envelope and benefit letter look like?

Louisiana P-EBT card Envelope

Louisiana P-EBT card benefit letter

How long will it take to get my card?

  • For most who applied before May 25 at 4:30 p.m. and were approved, the card(s) should arrive in the mail the week of June 8.
  • If you applied between May 25 at 4:30 p.m. and June 1 at 4:30 p.m. and are approved, you can expect to receive your card(s) by June 13.
  • If you apply between June 1 at 4:30 p.m. and June 8 at 4:30 p.m. and are approved, you can expect to receive your card(s) by June 19.
  • If you apply between June 8 at 4:30 p.m. and the new deadline of June 15 at 4:30 p.m. and are approved, you can expect to receive your card(s) by June 26.

What if I don't receive my card on the estimated delivery date?

If you successfully applied for P-EBT benefits and do not receive your P-EBT card in the mail within one week of the estimated delivery date (listed below), call the LAHelpU Customer Service Center at 1-888-524-3578 or email customer service staff at LAHelpU.DCFS@la.gov to report your card missing and to have a new one mailed to you. If you email, please use the subject line “Replacement P-EBT card” and be sure to include your name (as it appears on your P-EBT application), contact information, date of birth, and the last four digits of your Social Security Number, if possible.

PLEASE BE AWARE:  If there is a chance that your original card has simply been delayed in the mail, we strongly encourage you to give it a few more days before requesting a replacement. Here’s why:  When you request a replacement card, your original card is automatically deactivated and it can take 10 business days (2 weeks) for the replacement to arrive by mail. If your original card arrives after you request a replacement, you would not be able to use it – you would have to wait for the replacement card to arrive.

Estimated delivery dates are as follows:

  • For most who applied before May 25 at 4:30 p.m., the card(s) should arrive in the mail the week of June 8.
  • Those who applied between May 25 at 4:30 p.m. and June 1 at 4:30 p.m. can expect to receive their card(s) by June 13.
  • Those who applied between June 1 at 4:30 p.m. and June 8 at 4:30 p.m. can expect to receive their card(s) by June 19.
  • Those who apply between June 8 at 4:30 p.m. and the new deadline of June 15 at 4:30 p.m. can expect to receive their card(s) by June 26.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  We are switching EBT vendors during the weekend of June 20. If you are requesting a replacement card, please submit your request either before Thursday, June 18, or after Monday, June 22. If your replacement card is created after we switch vendors, it will look like a Louisiana Purchase (SNAP) EBT card, not like the black & white P-EBT card, but will still contain your P-EBT benefits.

How do I activate my card?

Call the phone number on the back of the card (1-888-997-1117). You will need the EBT card number on the front of the card, the last 4 digits of the SSN, and the date of birth of the parent or guardian named on the card. You will need to set a four-digit PIN number.

I'm having trouble setting a PIN and activating my card.

If you have followed the instructions that came with your P-EBT card and are still having trouble setting a PIN and activating your card, email LAHelpU.DCFS@la.gov or call the LAHelpU Customer Service Center at 1-888-524-3578.

I already have a SNAP card. Will I receive a separate card for P-EBT?

Yes, if your household is eligible. P-EBT is a separate program and will be issued on a separate card.

How do I use my P-EBT card?

Once activated, the card can be used to purchase eligible food items anywhere SNAP/EBT cards are accepted. While the card is in the name of a parent or guardian in the home, the parent or guardian does not need to be present when using the card. You will need to use the PIN number you created when activating the card. The card can be used in the point of sale device, just like a debit card or can be handed to the cashier.

Where can I use a P-EBT card?

The P-EBT card can be used at any retailer that accepts SNAP benefits. Locate a SNAP retailer with this interactive tool.

Can I use a P-EBT card to buy food online?

No. Online shopping is not allowed for Louisiana P-EBT benefits.

What can I buy with P-EBT benefits?

Eligible items are household foods such as fruits and vegetables; meat, poultry and fish; dairy products; breads and cereals; snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages; and seeds and plants that produce food for the household to eat.

Ineligible: Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes and tobacco; vitamins, medicines and supplements (if an item has a “supplement facts” label, it is not eligible for P-EBT purchase; live animals (except shellfish, fish removed from water and animals slaughtered before pick-up from the store); prepared foods that are fit for immediate consumption; hot foods; pet foods; cleaning supplies, paper products and other household supplies; hygiene items and cosmetics.

How do I check my balance?

Call the EBT customer service number on the back of the card (1-888-997-1117).

I applied for P-EBT benefits for more than one child, but my card is loaded with benefits for only one child (or for fewer children than applied for).

If you received a "successfully submitted" notice when submitting your application(s), your P-EBT benefits are on the way!

If you submitted separate applications for your children, you may receive a P-EBT card that is initially loaded with benefits only for the eligible child(ren) listed on your first application. Benefits for eligible children included in later applications would either be added to the P-EBT card you already received or loaded onto a second P-EBT card that would be sent to you for those additional children. (Whether the additional benefits are loaded onto your existing P-EBT card or included on a separate P-EBT card depends on whether the information you provided on each application was enough for the system to recognize that the same parent submitted both applications.)

May I give my card to another person to buy food?

Yes.

Will P-EBT cover summer food programs?

No, P-EBT covers only school meals missed in March, April and May. However, children may still participate in summer meal programs.

Where can I find information about summer meal programs?

Families may contact their local school system, or consult a parish-by-parish list and map of school meal sites on the COVID-19 page on the Louisiana Department of Education’s website.

I received a P-EBT card but don’t want to receive the benefits. What do I do?

Please cut the P-EBT card in half and dispose of it.

If I cut up the card and do not use the benefits, what happens to the money that I did not spend?

After 365 days, the benefits will be erased from the card and the money will revert to the federal treasury.


p_ebt_troubleshooting

Troubleshooting

What if I don't receive my card on the estimated delivery date?

If you successfully applied for P-EBT benefits and do not receive your P-EBT card in the mail within one week of the estimated delivery date (listed below), call the LAHelpU Customer Service Center at 1-888-524-3578 or email customer service staff at LAHelpU.DCFS@la.gov to report your card missing and to have a new one mailed to you. If you email, please use the subject line “Replacement P-EBT card” and be sure to include your name (as it appears on your P-EBT application), contact information, date of birth, and the last four digits of your Social Security Number, if possible.

PLEASE BE AWARE:  If there is a chance that your original card has simply been delayed in the mail, we strongly encourage you to give it a few more days before requesting a replacement. Here’s why:  When you request a replacement card, your original card is automatically deactivated and it can take 10 business days (2 weeks) for the replacement to arrive by mail. If your original card arrives after you request a replacement, you would not be able to use it – you would have to wait for the replacement card to arrive.

Estimated delivery dates are as follows:

  • For most who applied before May 25 at 4:30 p.m., the card(s) should arrive in the mail the week of June 8.
  • Those who applied between May 25 at 4:30 p.m. and June 1 at 4:30 p.m. can expect to receive their card(s) by June 13.
  • Those who applied between June 1 at 4:30 p.m. and June 8 at 4:30 p.m. can expect to receive their card(s) by June 19.
  • Those who apply between June 8 at 4:30 p.m. and the new deadline of June 15 at 4:30 p.m. can expect to receive their card(s) by June 26.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  We are switching EBT vendors during the weekend of June 20. If you are requesting a replacement card, please submit your request either before Thursday, June 18, or after Monday, June 22. If your replacement card is created after we switch vendors, it will look like a Louisiana Purchase (SNAP) EBT card, not like the black & white P-EBT card, but will still contain your P-EBT benefits.

I'm having trouble setting a PIN and activating my card.

If you have followed the instructions that came with your P-EBT card and are still having trouble setting a PIN and activating your card, email LAHelpU.DCFS@la.gov or call the LAHelpU Customer Service Center at 1-888-524-3578.

I applied for P-EBT benefits for more than one child, but my card is loaded with benefits for only one child (or for fewer children than applied for).

If you received a "successfully submitted" notice when submitting your application(s), your P-EBT benefits are on the way!

If you submitted separate applications for your children, you may receive a P-EBT card that is initially loaded with benefits only for the eligible child(ren) listed on your first application. Benefits for eligible children included in later applications would either be added to the P-EBT card you already received or loaded onto a second P-EBT card that would be sent to you for those additional children. (Whether the additional benefits are loaded onto your existing P-EBT card or included on a separate P-EBT card depends on whether the information you provided on each application was enough for the system to recognize that the same parent submitted both applications.)


Additional Information

For more information, families can contact the LAHelpU Call Center at 1-888-524-3578. The hours are 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. M-F.