COVID-19 FAQ- Pandemic Food Benefits (P-EBT)

Benefits Team July 30, 2020




Last Updated: July 18, 2020


Q. What is P-EBT?

Pandemic-EBT is an extra kind of food assistance to help many families feed their children during the COVID-19 crisis. Benefits will come from the NY State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA).  NO APPLICATION IS NECESSARY.


Q. Who is Eligible?

Children, ages 3-21, who qualify for Free or Reduced Price School Lunch during the school year, are eligible.  They may also receive the Grab ‘n Go Meals through their school.


Q. How much will I receive?

Each eligible child should receive a benefit of $420.


Q. When will these benefits be issued?

If you already receive SNAP or Temporary Assistance, you should have gotten P-EBT in June. The extra funds should have been placed on your benefit card in two payments ($193 + $227).

If you do not receive SNAP or Temporary Assistance, but your child has Medicaid, you will receive a letter from OTDA and instructions on getting a PIN number during the month of July. A benefit of $420 for each eligible child should be placed on the oldest child’s Medicaid card.

If you do not receive any of these benefits, but your child was receiving free or reduced price lunch, you will get a letter from OTDA and an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card in the mail for each child.  A benefit of $420 per eligible child should be placed on each card by early September.


Q. When can i use this card and what can I buy with it?

You can use the benefit card to buy food in any store that accepts SNAP benefits.  You may not exchange the card for cash or get cash back from your purchases. The same restrictions that apply to SNAP benefits will apply to P-EBT benefits.


Q. How long will these benefits be available?

You may use the benefits for up to 1 year.


Q. Can immigrants get this benefit?

Yes, they can. If your children are eligible for free or reduced price lunch at school, they should get P-EBT, no matter what their immigration status.


Q. If I use this benefit, will it hurt my immigration status?

No, using P-EBT will NOT hurt your immigration status. P-EBT is NOT considered a public charge.

For more information, see https://otda.ny.gov/SNAP-COVID-19/Frequently-Asked-Questions-Pandemic EBT.asp.  If you have a problem, contact otda.sm.eisp.PEBT@otda.ny.gov or call 1-888-328-6399.


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