Important P-EBT information
Due to the high volume of calls and extended wait times currently being experienced through our call center, VDSS has created an online inquiry form to receive questions and concerns regarding P-EBT benefits. Inquiries will be immediately directed to our call center staff, who will provide a response within two - three business days.P-EBT Inquiry
Please do not submit repeat inquiries. Multiple inquiries on a single case will delay our ability to respond.
You may have received a message from your child's school instructing you to hold on to your card for the possibility of additional benefits. This will only occur if approval is granted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Services.
The P-EBT program is intended to provide a one-time, temporary food benefit to Virginia families with children who would have received free or reduced-price meals if schools were open. The Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) and Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) are working together to operate the program. If authorized, notification of additional benefits will be communicated to eligible households by VDOE.
What is P-EBT?
Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) is a temporary food benefit available in Virginia to families with children who would have received free or reduced-price meals if schools were open. The program is authorized through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service. The Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) are working together to operate the program.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of P-EBT?
The purpose of the P-EBT benefit is to supplement existing nutrition programs for low-income households during the COVID-19 pandemic. It does not replace meals provided through the school programs during unexpected closures, such as the summer meal programs that will begin when the school year is over. The P-EBT benefits are calculated at the rate of $5.70 per day per child for the 66 days Virginia's schools will be closed. VDSS will issue benefits to eligible households with a total benefit of $376 per eligible student. Benefits will be provided for eligible students only and not for other children in the household.
Who is eligible for P-EBT benefits?
Households are eligible because they:
- include an eligible student(s) who, if not for the closure of their school, would receive free or reduced-price school meals; AND
- include a student whose school or school division has been closed for at least five consecutive days.
How do I know if I am eligible?
Schools will provide information for all eligible students directly to VDSS. Households do not have to apply for P-EBT. If you believe there are eligible students in your household but you do not receive P-EBT by the middle of June, call (804) 726-7000.
My family needs food now, what can we do?
Many schools and community locations are distributing meals to school-aged children now. To find locations in your area, text FOOD or COMIDA to 877-877 or visit your local school division website. Students and families who receive P-EBT should continue to participate in other food assistance programs, such as meals provided by schools. P-EBT does not replace other assistance. If your family does not already receive SNAP benefits (food assistance), you should apply for assistance immediately by visiting CommonHelp or by calling 1-855-635-4370. For information about other food assistance in your area, call 2-1-1.
If eligible, how much P-EBT will I get?
Households will receive $5.70 per eligible student, per day, up to a maximum of 66 days of school closure. If your family is currently receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and you are eligible for P-EBT, it will be added to your EBT card in the next two weeks. If your family is not receiving SNAP, you will receive a P-EBT card in the mail in the next four to six weeks. If you are the parent or guardian of multiple eligible students living in the same household at the same address, you may receive one P-EBT card with benefits for all eligible students.
When will P-EBT benefits be available?
If your family is currently receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and you are eligible for P-EBT, it will be added to your EBT card in the next two weeks. If your family is not receiving SNAP, you will receive a P-EBT card in the mail in the next four to six weeks.
People living in the same area with children who attend the same schools may not receive benefits at the same time. Eligible households will receive benefits for the entire period their students were eligible, even if they do not receive benefits until the end of May or June.
What will happen to my P-EBT card if my family has moved?
VDSS will use the current mailing address from your student's school record. If that address is not correct, the P-EBT card will be recorded as undeliverable in the VDSS system. VDSS will work with local school divisions and will attempt to contact you for corrected mailing address information. If possible, contact your school now or to update the address in your student's school record. If you do not receive your P-EBT card by mid-June and you have not been contacted, call (804) 726-7000.
If eligible, how often will I get P-EBT benefits?
Virginia will issue the total P-EBT benefit one time for each eligible student. Households will receive the total benefit they are eligible for once in the next four to six weeks.
Where can I use my P-EBT benefits?
You can use your P-EBT benefits at any store that accepts SNAP. Most retailers have signs stating they accept SNAP or EBT.
What can I buy with P-EBT benefits?
You can buy any SNAP-eligible food with P-EBT. Most foods are SNAP-eligible, except prepared foods and foods sold hot. A list of SNAP-eligible foods is on the USDA website.
Do I have to use all my P-EBT benefits at once?
No. The money will carry over from month to month. After one year, unused P-EBT benefits will be removed from the card.
What should I do if I do not want the P-EBT benefits?
Households that do not want to use their P-EBT benefits must destroy the P-EBT card when they receive it. P-EBT benefits are not transferable. Do not give the card to anyone else. Destroy the card by cutting through the magnetic stripe and disposing of it securely. If you change your mind, the P-EBT benefits will be available to you for 365 days. You may call 1-866-281-2448 to access your P-EBT benefits for up to one year.
What do I do if my P-EBT card is lost?
There are three possible ways to request a replacement card. You may call 1-866-281-2448 to report your card lost and ask for a replacement; if you have registered through ConnectEBT, you may order your card through your logon; or if you have downloaded the ConnectEBT app on your mobile device you may order after you log on.
A replacement card may take up to 7 mailing days to reach you.
How do I PIN my card?
There are three ways to PIN your P-EBT card and manage your benefits account. You may call 1-866-281-2448; log on to ConnectEBT; or download the ConnectEBT app on your mobile device. Secure information detailing how to PIN your card will be included in the envelope with your card.
Are Head Start children eligible for P-EBT benefits?
Head Start children are eligible for P-EBT ONLY IF they attend a Head Start program in a school that participates in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Some Head Start programs receive meals through other funding sources and children attending those are not eligible. Head Start students who are not claimed under the NSLP/SBP are not eligible for PEBT.
Who receives the P-EBT benefit for eligible children?
The P-EBT benefits will be sent to the parent or guardian on the school division's file of children eligible for free or reduced meals.
Are home-schooled children eligible for P-EBT?
The program is for eligible students enrolled in the free and reduced school lunch program.
Does P-EBT count against me under public charge?
No, it does not. Using P-EBT benefits does not impact you or your child's immigration status. The public charge rule does not apply to P-EBT benefits. These benefits are for families with children who are eligible for free and reduced-price school meals.
Are non-citizen children eligible for P-EBT?
Non-citizen children are eligible if they are eligible for free and reduced price school meals.
Activating Your Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer Card (PEBT)
- Call 866-281-2448
- Visit connectebt.com/
- Download the ConnectEBT app on your mobile phone
- Enter the 12-digit EBT card number located on the front of the card
- Enter the date of birth of the oldest child receiving free or reduced meals. (You will need to enter the date of birth of the oldest child receiving free or reduced meals.)
- Enter 0000 when asked for the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number (SSN). (If at any time the full SSN is needed, it will be 000-00-0000)
- Enter a four-digit pin number (four numbers you will remember)
If you have any questions regarding your participation in this program, please contact: