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Updates and Announcements
September 6, 2022 -- DCFS issued $34.7 million in Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (PEBT) benefits for the 2021-22 school year and expects to issue approximately $160.8 million in benefits for Summer ‘22, as schools and school districts continue to submit student eligibility information to DCFS.
Summer PEBT benefits will be issued on Louisiana Purchase EBT cards in each eligible student’s name. Benefits will be issued on the same card that was received for the 2020-21 or 2021-22 school year. Continued
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
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 and 2021-22 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?
No, there is no application for P-EBT for 2021-22 or Summer 2022, 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 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.
If your card has been lost, go to https://www.dcfs.louisiana.gov/page/use-your-benefits#lost-card 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.
Who is eligible? Which schools qualify?
Who is eligible for P-EBT?
A child is eligible for P-EBT for the 2021-22 school and summer 2022 if:
- He or she has an approved application for free- or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program. This includes any student in a school that provides free meals to all students (under a special rule called “Community Eligibility Provision”), AND
- The student was on a school-approved fully virtual schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic or was out of school under a school-approved quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Virtual learning schedules for reasons other than the COVID-19 pandemic, as determined by the school and/or district’s COVID-19 protocols, do not qualify.
For the 2021-22 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.
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.
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.
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 2021-22 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 2021-22 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.
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 2021-22 WILL be loaded onto the same P-EBT cards used for the 2020-21 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 is in a school-approved fully virtual schedule or was out of school under a school-approved quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Students in a school-approved fully virtual schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible for $127.80 per month.
- 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: $21.30 per month
- 6-15 school days in a month: $71 per month
- 16 school days or more in a month: $127.80.
Benefits will be retroactive to cover all eligible months from August 2021 to May 2022.
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 2020-21 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 www.LifeInCheckEBT.com 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.
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?