Important information for parents or guardians of student’s eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch
What is the Pandemic-EBT Program?
The Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) Program gives food benefits to families with children who were not able to get free or reduced-price school meals due to COVID. You may hear about this benefit from other schools or in the media.
Who is eligible?
Being eligible for this program will depend on what school your student attends. Eligibility for the Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) Program can be different between schools within the same district.
What makes a school eligible for P-EBT?
A school building is eligible only if the building has had 5 school days in a row of reduced in-person hours due to COVID.
What could make my student eligible for P-EBT?
- If the school they attend is eligible for P-EBT and
- If your student normally gets free and reduced meals at school and
- If your student is not getting instruction in-person for some or all the month.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issues P-EBT benefits based on:
- How each school building reports their eligibility
- How most of the students attend school during the month
There may be months when your student’s attendance was different from what the school reported. In that case, you may be able to have your student’s benefit level reconsidered. Your request to be reconsidered must be submitted by June 30, 2021.
Below are the Student Exception Announcements for buildings with eligible students:
Reporting Months: September 2020 through March 2021
For months that a school reported primarily in-person, a parent/guardian has the option to request an individual review of their student’s circumstances. This process is called a reconsideration. See the link below to the MDHHS Reconsideration Form.
Proof documentation requests should be directed to your student's main office and they will provide you with the documentation needed for reconsideration.
Parent/Guardian P-EBT Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT)?
- P-EBT provides supplemental food assistance benefits to students who have temporarily lost access to free or reduced-price school meals due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal of the program is to make sure no student goes hungry by missing out on school meals.
2. Does my student qualify for Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT)?
- Eligibility starts if the student was:
- Enrolled at a school that met and submit the 5-day threshold and attendance type on the P-EBT Eligibility Reporting portal AND
- Enrolled to receive free or reduced lunch program meals at their school (including directly certified students and CEP schools) AND
- Did not receive instruction in-person for some or all of the month OR
- If fully in-person meals were not provided and eaten at school during the instruction day.
3. Some school districts qualify for a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) where all students are eligible for free meals, regardless of income. Are those students eligible for P-EBT?
- Students at a CEP school are eligible once the school building meets the 5-day threshold and the student receives reduced in-person instruction.
4. Do Pre-K, Head Start, or Great Start Readiness Program students qualify for P-EBT?
- The two pre-k programs that may have student that qualify for P-EBT are Headstart and GSRP. However, the Headstart and GSRP student still must meet the Free and Reduced-Price Meal Eligibility and learning modality requirements.
5. Do Early College students qualify for P-EBT?
- Yes, students in Early College Programs may qualify for P-EBT if they meet the Free and Reduced-Price Meal Eligibility and learning modality requirements.
6. We pick up “Grab-and-Go” meals from the school. Do we qualify for P-EBT?
- Grab and Go are free to all students. P-EBT is defined in question 2. Meal pick-up or “Grab-and-Go” lunches do not affect P-EBT eligibility.
7. My student gets free lunch right now, do they qualify for P-EBT?
- Yes, the student may qualify for P-EBT if they meet the Free and Reduced-Price Meal Eligibility and learning modality requirements.
8. Do I need to apply for P-EBT?
- No, there is no applications process. MDHHS and MDE are working directly with school districts to obtain information that allows direct issuance of benefits to eligible students.
9. Do I need to reapply each month?
- No, benefit eligibility is automatically determined
10. How do I know if my student will receive the P-EBT?
- We anticipate the first issuance cycle to begin in Mid-March. If you do not receive benefits by mid-April and your student was free and reduce lunch eligible and had a learning instruction mode of parttime virtual or fully virtual, contact the P-EBT help desk.
Benefits and Payment Information
1. How will I receive P-EBT benefits?
- Any eligible student already on a Food Assistance case will receive their P-EBT benefits on that EBT/Bridge card.
- All other eligible students will receive a P-EBT card in the mail. A separate card will be sent for each eligible student.
- If the student is active on a Medicaid case, the card will be mailed to the address on that case. Be sure to keep your address updated with both MDHHS and your school.
2. If parents do not live together which household receives the P-EBT?
- If your student is active for food or medical benefits with MDHHS the benefits will be issued to the address on the active case. If there is no address on an active MDHHS case the card will be sent to the address that is currently on file with MDE for the student. Be sure to keep your address updated with both MDHHS and your school.
3. What months does the P-EBT program cover?
- September 2020 through June 2021.
4. When will my card be loaded?
- Benefits are expected to begin being issued in late March. A notice will be sent with more information.
5. How much in P-EBT will I get?
- It depends on the type of instruction you student received for each month. The chart below describes the potential benefit amount based on the instructional type for each month.
Fully In-Person No Benefit Both In-Person and Online Partial Benefit Amount Fully Online Full Benefit Amount
6. What if I received only a partial payment or no payment at all for a month?
- Payment is based on how the student attended classes for the month. Parents/Guardians may submit a reconsideration form if they can verify that the amount received did not match the student’s instructional type. The P-EBT Reconsideration form is available on the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services website or contacting MDHHS through email at MDHHS-PEBT@michigan.gov.
7. How can I check my balance or activity?
- Call the EBT customer service number 888-678-8914 or navigate to this link: www.connectebt.com/miebtclient
8. How long do I have to use my P-EBT money?
- The card must be used at least once in one year or the benefits will be expunged
1. Will I receive a new P-EBT card if I previously had one?
- Yes. Past P-EBT cards will not be re-used. Remember, if your student now has active Food Assistance their P-EBT money will be loaded onto the family’s Bridge Card.
2. I lost my card. How do I get a replacement?
- Contact a customer service representative toll-free at 888-678-8914. The toll-free Customer Service number is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for you to request a replacement card. Your replacement card will be mailed within 3 to 5 business days. You will not have to activate this card. The PIN you used on your old card will work with your new card. Once you order a replacement card, your old card will no longer work.
3. How do I activate my card?
- Call the number on the back of the card: 888-678-8914 and follow the prompts to activate a food stamp card. Use the birthdate of the student names on the card. Use “0000” (four zeroes) for the social security number.
4. How do I use my P-EBT card? What can I buy? Where can I use my P-EBT card?
- The P-EBT card is used the same way as a traditional EBT card or “Bridge Card”. Please visit https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/eligible-food-items for more information.
5. I received a card for a student that is not in my home. What should I do?
- Mark the envelop as “Not at this address” and return the card to the sender.
1. Can I have my card sent somewhere else?
- No. In situations where a card is being mailed, it will go to the students Medicaid address or the address the school provided.
2. Can cards be sent to PO Boxes?
3. I set up mail forwarding with the Post Office. Will I receive my P-EBT card?
- No. The P-EBT card will NOT be forwarded. To obtain a replacement card you must update your address with the school. If the student is on Medicaid, make sure your address is updated with the Department of Health and Human Services. You will need to contact the PEBT customer service call center and they will work with you to have a new card issued.
4. What should I do if I move to a new address?
- Immediately update your address at the school, and if your student has food assistance or Medicaid, with MDHHS.
5. Is there a deadline to update my address with the school?
- There is no deadline to update address information with local schools. Whenever there is a change in address your school should be notified.