Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) Due to COVID-19

Texas Health and Human Services is partnering with the Texas Department of Agriculture and the Texas Education Agency to provide school year 2021–2022 Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) benefits to eligible children.

School year 2021–2022 P-EBT is for families with children (K–12) who are certified for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and who temporarily lost access to free or reduced-price school meals during the school year due to COVID-19. Receiving free meals at school does not automatically make a child NSLP certified or eligible for P-EBT benefits.

P-EBT benefits can be used the same way as SNAP benefits.

There is no online application for school year 2021–2022 P-EBT benefits.

P-EBT for School Aged Children

Is there an online application for school year 2021–2022 P-EBT?

There is no online P-EBT application for school year 2021–2022 P-EBT like there was for school year 2020–2021 P-EBT. You might need to complete a NSLP household application, provided by your school, for your child to be eligible. Refer to the question, "How does my child become eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) for the 2021–2022 school year?"

How will HHS know which children are eligible for school year 2021–2022 P-EBT?

Your child's school will provide HHS with a list of NSLP-eligible students that have COVID-related absences, virtual attendance, or school closures during the 2021–2022 school year.

How will I know if my child will receive school year 2021–2022 P-EBT?

If your child is eligible for P-EBT benefits for school year 2021–2022, you will be mailed a notice beginning in April and/or July. This notice will include the amount of benefits your child will receive, an explanation of how their benefit amount was determined, and let you know if there are further steps you need to take. For more information about how you will receive P-EBT benefits, see "How will I get my child's P-EBT benefits?"

How much money will my child receive for school year 2021–2022 P-EBT?

P-EBT benefits for school year 2021–2022 vary for each child because benefits are based on the number of days a child did not receive free or reduced-price meals due to COVID-related absences, virtual attendance, or days that schools were closed due to COVID-19. The daily benefit amount of $7.10 will be issued for each day a child is eligible for P-EBT. For example, if a child was absent for seven days because they stayed home after testing positive for COVID-19 and a school closed due to COVID-19 for three days, they would receive a P-EBT benefit of $71.00 (10 days x $7.10).

When will I receive my child's P-EBT benefits?

P-EBT benefits will begin being issued in April for the first semester (August 2021 to December 2021) and in July for the second semester (January 2022 to June 2022). Children may receive benefits for one or both semesters based on their eligibility, however, children from some schools may receive all their benefits in July. This is because some schools may provide all their student information to HHS at once, rather than separately for each semester. Eligible students identified as homeless, foster care or migrant may receive their benefits starting in July.

How will I get my child's P-EBT benefits?

If your household currently receives SNAP or you previously received P-EBT, we'll put your benefits on your existing Lone Star Card or P-EBT card if the information provided by schools/districts matches the information we have. If the information is different, we will send a new P-EBT card in the mail.

If you no longer have your P-EBT card, call at the Lone Star Help Desk at 800-777-7328 to request a new one.

If you do not currently receive SNAP and have not received P-EBT benefits before, you will be sent a notice in the mail with a claim code. You can use this code to claim your child's P-EBT benefits by going to YourTexasBenefits.com or by calling the P-EBT Call Center. Detailed instructions are included in the notice. You have 90 days to claim your benefits.

What should I do if I no longer have my Lone Star Card or P-EBT Card?

Call the Lone Star Help Desk at 800-777-7328 for a replacement card.

What can I purchase with my P-EBT funds?

P-EBT follows the same rules as SNAP food benefits. It helps people buy the food they need for good health. To learn more, visit the HHS SNAP Food Benefits webpage.

I received a claim code. What do I need to do next?

If you receive a claim code in the mail for P-EBT benefits, follow these instructions from your notice to claim your child's P-EBT benefits.

To claim your child's benefits online:

  1. Log in or create an online account at YourTexasBenefits.com.
    1. If you have an account, enter your username and password.
    2. If you do not have an account, click 'Create a new account.'
  2. After you log in or create your account, click 'P-EBT Benefits' to go to the page where you can enter your claim code.

To claim your child's benefits by phone, call the P-EBT Call Center at 833-442-1255.

To claim your child's benefits using the claim code, online or over the phone, you will also need to provide:

  1. Your child's name, Social Security number* (if they have one), and their date of birth; and
  2. The name of the child's parent or guardian, the parent or guardian's Social Security number* (if they have one), and their date of birth.

*Social Security numbers are preferred, but not required.

After you claim your child's benefits using the claim code online or over the phone, their benefits will be processed within two days. You will receive a P-EBT card in the mail with your child's benefits loaded on it.

If my child's school provides free meals, is my child eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP)?

Receiving free meals at school does not mean a student is eligible for NSLP, and it does not automatically make a student eligible for P-EBT. Some Texas campuses have offered free meals to all students during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Receiving these free meals at school does not automatically make a student eligible for P-EBT. To be NSLP-certified, you must meet individual income eligibility requirements unless a child attends a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) or Provision 2 (P2) school. If you are uncertain about whether your child's school is a CEP or P2 school, contact the school.

How does my child become eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) for school year 2021–2022 P-EBT?

If your child does not attend a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) or Provision 2 (P2) school, you must complete a NSLP household application and be certified eligible by the child nutrition department. It is recommended that you submit it to your child's school no later than April 29, 2022. Contact your child's school for more information and to request an application. If your child or household participates in other state programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, or TANF or has foster, migrant, or homeless status, they are considered directly certified and do not need to complete a NSLP household application.

My child received a smaller P-EBT benefit this school year than in the past or did not receive any P-EBT benefits for this year. Why?

For school year 2021–2022, P-EBT benefits are based on eligibility for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the number of days a child did not receive free or reduced-price meals at school because of a COVID-related absence, virtual attendance, or school closures. This is different from P-EBT for previous school years when children all received the same benefit amount if they were NSLP-eligible. To learn more, see "How much money will my child receive for school year 2021–2022 P-EBT?"

My child is eligible but hasn't received benefits. What can I do?

A review of your benefits can be requested between August 15 and October 14. To request a review, call the P-EBT Call Center at 833-442-1255, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time.

After your request is submitted, HHS will review the benefit decision and contact your child's school for more information. The review process can take two to five weeks to complete.

If the review determines that your child was eligible for more school year P-EBT benefits than they received, those benefits will be issued to your Lone Star Card or P-EBT Card.

Requests for review of a benefit decision can only be submitted once per household, and all review decisions are final.

I believe my child was eligible for more P-EBT benefits than they received. What can I do?

If you think your child was eligible for more benefits than they received , you can request a review of your benefits between August 15 and October 14. To request a review, call the P-EBT Call Center at 833-442-1255, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time.

After your request is submitted, HHS will review the benefit decision and contact your child's school for more information. The review process can take two to five weeks to complete.

If the review determines that your child was eligible for more school year P-EBT benefits than they received, those benefits will be issued to your Lone Star Card or P-EBT Card.

Requests for review of a benefit decision can only be submitted once per household, and all review decisions are final.

I have more questions about school year 2021–2022 P-EBT. Who do I contact?

You can call the P-EBT Call Center at 833-442-1255, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Central time.

P-EBT for Childcare Aged Children

Are childcare aged children eligible for P-EBT?

Children born on or after August 1, 2015 that are part of a household receiving SNAP are eligible for P-EBT benefits for school year 2021-2022 (August 2021 – June 2022). Benefits for eligible children will only be issued for the months they were receiving SNAP.

How much money do childcare aged children receive and when?

There will be two benefit issuances for childcare aged children. The first benefit issuance for August 2021 – December 2021 will be $100.95 if you are eligible for all months ($20.19 per month). The second issuance for January 2022 – June 2022 will be determined once data is available in July. Both benefit amounts will be issued separately in August

The P-EBT benefit amount for childcare aged children is based on the number of free meals provided at childcare centers from federal funding through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).

How will I receive my benefits?

There will be two issuances for childcare aged children eligible for P-EBT. The first benefit, for August 2021 – December 2021, and second benefit, for January 2022 – June 2022 will be issued in August.

P-EBT benefits will be placed on existing Lone Star Cards.

My child is eligible but hasn’t received benefits, what can I do?

You can request a review of your child’s eligibility by calling the P-EBT Call Center at 833-442-1255, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time.

I have more questions about P-EBT for childcare aged children. Who do I contact?

You can call the P-EBT Call Center at 833-442-1255, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Central time.