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Q&A: Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) For School Children

A: Pandemic - Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) is a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) program designed to provide benefits on an EBT card to be used to purchase food. This program is in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The purpose of the program is to provide food benefits to eligible children who lost access to school meals due to school closures and adjusted learning schedules during the 2020-2021 school year.

A: South Dakota children are eligible for P-EBT benefits if:

  • The child has been determined eligible for free or reduced-price meals during the 2020-2021 school year; and
  • The child did not receive free or reduced-priced meals at the school because the school was closed or was operating with reduced attendance or hours for at least five consecutive days.

A: If a school was not closed nor operated with reduced attendance for five consecutive days, children attending that school are not eligible for P-EBT.

A: Students attending schools that are not participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) are not eligible for P-EBT.

A: Home-schooled students are not participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and are not eligible for P-EBT.

A: Many schools offered free breakfast and lunch to all students through an extension of the USDA summer feeding programs. Only those students who were eligible for free or reduced-priced meals through the National School Lunch Program and did not receive free or reduced-priced meals at the school because the school was closed or was operating with reduced attendance or hours for at least five consecutive days are eligible for P-EBT.

A: The school districts inform the Department of Education (DOE) of children who are eligible for free and reduced meals through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the school’s learning mode during the 2020-2021 school year. P-EBT benefits will be issued based on the information school districts provide to DOE, which will then be shared with DSS to issue the P-EBT benefit.

A: You may check the DSS website to see what has been reported as the classroom learning mode for your child’s school. Only students reported as eligible by their school will receive P-EBT benefits. If your child is found eligible for a P-EBT benefit you will be notified via mail.

A: South Dakota is utilizing an average number of days for fully remote and hybrid learning modes and a daily benefit amount.

  • Fully Remote Students: The monthly benefit amount is $116 per student, which is based on 17 days as an average number of school days and $6.82 as the benefit amount per day.
    • Example: A child who was eligible for free and reduced meals and whose school was closed (fully remote) in the months of October and November will receive $232.
  • Hybrid Students: The monthly benefit amount is $68 per student, which is based on 10 days as an average number of school days and $6.82 as the benefit amount per day.
    • Example: A child who was eligible for free and reduced meals and whose school was partially closed (hybrid) in the months of January, February, and March will receive $204.

A: For families currently receiving SNAP benefits, the P-EBT benefits will be issued to the family’s active EBT card. For families not receiving SNAP benefits, new EBT cards will be mailed and P-EBT benefits will be available once the EBT card is received.

A: The P-EBT benefit will be issued to the parent or guardian identified by the school district for the eligible student(s).

A: P-EBT benefits will be issued to SNAP households between July 15th and August 15th, 2021 for the entire 2020-2021 school year. P-EBT benefits will be issued to Non-SNAP households between July 15th and August 15th, 2021, once the family completes the online verification form.

A: For families currently receiving SNAP, Medicaid, or TANF benefits, there is no application process. For families not currently receiving these benefits, there is a short verification form that must be completed. Directions and additional information on how to complete the verification form will be mailed to each family.

A: Yes, all households not currently receiving regular SNAP benefits will receive a new EBT card. For families not receiving any benefits, the new EBT card will be issued after the family completes the short online verification form.

A: No. These benefits replace school meals and are for families that receive free and reduced-priced school meals through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).

A: Families can use P-EBT benefits for nine months. The nine-month period starts when the family makes their first purchase. If a purchase is never made, the period starts when the benefits are issued.

A: No. P-EBT benefits will carry over from month to month. After nine months of no use, any unused P-EBT benefits will be removed from the card.

A: There are no additional income guidelines. South Dakota children are eligible for P-EBT benefits if:

  • Children have been determined eligible for free or reduced-price meals during the 2020-2021 school year; and
  • The child did not receive free or reduced-priced meals at the school because the school was closed or was operating with reduced attendance or hours for at least five consecutive days.

A: P-EBT benefits are for students eligible for free and reduced-price meals that have been affected by a school closure or adjusted school schedule for at least five consecutive days. Students that are attending school in-person, full-time would not be eligible for P-EBT as they are receiving meals at the school.

  • Parents may check the P-EBT website at https://dsspebt.sd.gov/ for a list of 2020-2021 P-EBT eligible schools.
    • If your child’s school is not on this list, contact your child’s school district with questions on why the school is not eligible.
    • If your child’s school is on the list, then you may contact P-EBT customer service by calling toll free at 1-833-813-0006 or by email at pebt@state.sd.us.

A: If you currently receive SNAP benefits, you may contact P-EBT customer service by calling toll free at 1- 833-813-0006 or by email at pebt@state.sd.us. If you do not receive SNAP benefits, no further action is needed. If you receive an EBT card, but later decide you do not want P-EBT benefits, destroy the card by cutting through the magnetic strip and dispose of it securely.

A: Your P-EBT benefits can be used to purchase food items at authorized SNAP retailers. Find the closest retailer where you can use your benefits at: https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/retailer-locator. P-EBT benefits cannot be used for ready-to-eat meals, tobacco, alcohol, paper products, and any other non-food items.

A: No. P-EBT benefits cannot be sold or traded. P-EBT benefits are not transferable and should not be given to anyone else. It is against the law to sell or trade your benefits or South Dakota EBT card or the food you purchased with your South Dakota EBT card. If you sell or trade your benefits and/or food, you will be investigated, and if found guilty, will be disqualified from SNAP and required to pay back any misused food benefits. You may also be referred for criminal prosecution, which could also result in a fine and/or prison time.

A: Follow the directions on the letter you receive with your EBT card. You can choose your PIN by logging into www.ebtEDGE.com or by calling ebtEDGE customer service at 1-800-604-5099.

A: If you have questions or need assistance, you may visit the P-EBT website at https://dsspebt.sd.gov/, send an email to pebt@state.sd.us, or call toll free at 1-833-813-0006.