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P-EBT FAQs 2022-23



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, 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years.

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.



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

There is no application for standard K-12 and Child Care P-EBT for 2022-23 or Summer 2023, regardless of whether you received P-EBT before or not. An application IS required for homeschooled students and students attending approved fully virtual schools. See below for additional details.

For K-12 students, schools will provide a list of students meeting the eligibility criteria (see below) to DCFS for purposes of issuing P-EBT benefits to those families. The State will then issue benefits to the eligible student’s PEBT card received during the first school year of eligibility.

For homeschooled students and those attending a fully virtual school, a parent/guardian must complete an application for P-EBT by May 11, 2023. Virtual school students will apply with their virtual school. Homeschooled students will apply at their local public school. For more information on eligibility and how to apply for homeschooled and/or virtual school students, see additional FAQs below and also see our Homeschooled/Virtual School page.

If your card has been lost, go to for ways to order a replacement.

NOTE: DCFS does not determine eligibility. Each school and district sets its own COVID-19 protocols and attendance requirements based on federal policy. Noncompliance with school policies could affect your child’s eligibility. Your school will confirm your student’s situation.

What is the application process for virtual school students?

Virtual school students' applications will be processed by the virtual school they attend:

  • Virtual students must submit their application via their BESE-approved virtual school.
  • Virtual school data managers will be required to collect student applications, verify eligibility and submit P-EBT data to DCFS for their students to receive benefits.

For additional information, see our Homeschooled/Virtual School page

What is the application process for homeschooled students?

Homeschooled students' applications will be processed by their local public school:

  • Students enrolled in a BESE-Approved Home Study Program will apply at their local public school system.
  • A complete application must be submitted by close of business on May 11, 2023, to be considered. Any partial applications will not be processed.

For additional information, see our Homeschooled/Virtual School page

Who is eligible?

Who is eligible for P-EBT?


A child is eligible for SY 2022-23 P-EBT benefits if two conditions are met:

  1. He or she has an approved application for free- or reduced-price meals under the NSLP. This includes any student in a school that provides free meals to all students (under a special rule called “Community Eligibility Provision (CEP)”), AND

  2. The child does not receive 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 at a school, children at that school are eligible to receive P-EBT benefits for closures, reductions in hours or quarantines/absences due to COVID-19.

Before a school is eligible to issue P-EBT, the school must have at least one student with five (5) consecutive absences due to COVID-19.

For the 2022-23 school year, each school or district will provide a list of children meeting the above eligibility criteria to DCFS for purposes of issuing P-EBT benefits to those children.

Homeschooled/Virtual Student

A student enrolled in a BESE-Approved Home Study Program, or attending a BESE-approved fully virtual school that does not participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), is eligible for P-EBT benefits for the 2022-23 school year if the child meets ALL three of these requirements:

  1. The child previously attended an NSLP-participating school, but withdrew after the start of the COVID health emergency due to COVID concerns; OR the child enrolled in kindergarten as a virtual or homeschool student in school year 2020-21 or later;

  2. The child is not attending an NSLP-participating school in SY 2022-23 due to concerns about COVIDAND

  3. The child would have received free or reduced-price meals at the NSLP-participating school if not for their virtual or homeschooled status.

Child Care

All children under the age of six in households that had an active SNAP case in any month from August 2022 through July 2023 are eligible for P-EBT benefits for the month(s) when their case was active.

  1. They must have lived in or attended child care in an area where one or more schools or child care facilities were closed or operating with reduced attendance or hours.

  2. If a child turned six between August 2022 and May 2023, they would be eligible to receive benefits for the remainder of the school year provided they were in a household with an active SNAP case in that month.

  3. If your child has already received P-EBT benefits for any month during the 2022-23 school year, they are not eligible for Child Care P-EBT benefits as they may have already received benefits for the designated time period.

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 situation. If a child's learning schedule changes (e.g., from virtual to in quarantine or vice versa), their eligibility and benefit level may also 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.

How do I apply for P-EBT for my homeschooled or fully virtual student?

Please see our Homeschooled/Virtual School Students page for details on the application process and what information and documentation will be required.

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 2022-23 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 2022-23 school year and meets the eligibility requirements for P-EBT, 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.

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.

How will I know my child has been approved for benefits?

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.

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


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 2022-23 WILL be loaded onto the same P-EBT cards used for the 2021-22 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.

How much will my child get in P-EBT benefits?

Benefit amounts are based on whether a child was out of school under a school-approved quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Eligible students in approved quarantine due to COVID-19 (Please note that these are monthly amounts [e.g., a student who missed 1 day of school and a student who missed 4 days of school would both receive the same monthly benefit].):
    • 1-5 school days in a month: $24.54 per month
    • 6-15 school days in a month: $81.80 per month
    • More than 15 days in a month: $147.24 per month

Before a school is eligible to issue P-EBT, the school must have at least one student with five (5) consecutive absences due to COVID-19.

Benefits will be retroactive to cover all eligible months from August 2022 to May 2023. However, because the federal Public Health Emergency ends on May 11, 2023, P-EBT benefits for May will not exceed $81.80.

When are benefits issued?

Benefits will be issued in installments, depending on the submission of eligibility information by schools. Benefits are processed weekly on Tuesdays and made available on Wednesdays. Benefits will be issued to the same PEBT card that was received for the 2021-22 school year.

If you do not already have a PEBT card, 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 add to the delay.


Why didn’t I get benefits for all of my children at one time?

Benefits will be issued as schools submit information and the file is processed by DCFS. Therefore, families with more than one eligible child may receive their children’s benefits at different times or may receive different benefit amounts, according to the information submitted by schools.

Check the P-EBT Parent Portal in CAFÉ to review the details of your child’s case.

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.

How long are benefits on the card good for?

Under federal rules, federal food assistance benefits will be expunged (or removed) from a recipient’s EBT card nine months after the benefits are issued, unless the card is used to make a purchase within this nine-month period. If the card is used, the benefits will remain on the card for nine months from the date of the last purchase.

Once benefits have been removed, they cannot be added back to the card.

Should I keep my child’s card once the funds are used?

Parents should keep their child’s PEBT card in the event they are eligible for future PEBT benefits. If you have thrown away your card, when the next issuance of PEBT is submitted, you will be able to request a new card.

What if my P-EBT card was lost or stolen? How do I get a replacement?

If your card is lost, stolen or damaged, cancel your card immediately and request a replacement. You can do this in one of 4 ways:

  • Portal: You may complete a request for a new card in the P-EBT Parent Portal.
  • Phone: Call the EBT customer service line at 1-888-997-1117 and listen for the option to report your card as lost, stolen or damaged.
  • Web: Go to and create an account. (NOTE: You will need a separate account, with a separate email address, for each EBT card that you have.) Once you have created an account for the lost/stolen card, log in and select the “Card Management” tab on the top of the screen. This will bring you to a screen where you can cancel your card and request a replacement card.
  • Mobile: Download the LifeInCheck EBT mobile app and create an account. (NOTE: You will need a separate account, with a separate email address, for each EBT card that you have.) After logging into the app, select the “My Account” icon on the bottom right of the screen. There will be a list of options available including one to deactivate or cancel your card and request a replacement card.
  • If you do not need to change your mailing address, call the EBT customer service line at 1-888-997-1117 and listen for the option to report your card as lost, stolen or damaged. You can then request a new card be mailed to your address on file.

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.

Homeschooled students can obtain their Student ID by calling 1-888-524-3578.

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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