Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19), New York children who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals at school will get extra food benefits called Pandemic EBT (P-EBT). In this post, we will explain in detail what the New York P-EBT is about.

First, we will walk you through who is eligible for NY P-EBT in 2021 and how the program works, including NYC eligibility.

Furthermore, we will explain the application process and how to get New York P-EBT if your child is eligible.

Additionally, we will provide a schedule on when P-EBT benefits for the 2020-2021 school year will be distributed.

Lastly, we will answer the most frequently asked questions about the P-EBT program, including benefits for the 2020-2021 school year.

"New York P-EBT Application, Activation and FAQs"

This post will cover:

  • What is Pandemic EBT (P-EBT)?
  • New York P-EBT Program
  • How do I Apply for New York P-EBT benefits?
  • How do I Activate New York P-EBT Card?
  • New York P-EBT FAQs

For summer 2021 P-EBT benefits, click here.

What is Pandemic EBT (P-EBT)?

The Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer program was created in March 2020 as part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

The goal was to help with the disruption of the free or reduced-price meal program created by COVID-19 related school closures.

The P-EBT program provides families with benefits they can use to buy groceries to replace the free or reduced-price meals their children missed while schools were closed for in-person instruction.

Initially, the program was approved for the 2019-2020 school year.

However, as you will see below, the P-EBT program has been approved for the 2020-2021 school year as COVID-19 related school closures continue.

New York P-EBT Program

The New York P-EBT program provides food benefits to children who miss the opportunity to receive school meals due to pandemic-related school closures.

These benefits will take the form of funds on electronic benefit transfer (EBT cards) which can be used in the same manner as SNAP (food stamp) cards.

Children enrolled at schools where breakfast and lunch services are provided by the New York Department of Education’s food and nutrition program are eligible for P-EBT.

Here’s what parents of eligible children need to know about New York P-EBT:

  • Benefits will automatically be issued to all eligible students.
  • For students whose households receive SNAP, Temporary Assistance, or Medicaid benefits, P-EBT benefits will be loaded to those household accounts.
  • For all other students, new cards will be issued to each student specifically for P-EBT benefits and mailed directly to students’ home addresses.

Who is Eligible for P-EBT in New York?

Eligibility for P-EBT benefits in NY is broken down into two categories:

NYC Residents
New York State (Upstate NY) Residents

NYC P-EBT Eligibility

Here is the breakdown of who is eligible for the P-EBT program so far:

  • All children who would have received free or reduced-price school lunches for the days their school was closed due to
    COVID-19 are eligible to receive P-EBT food benefits, such as:
  • Children attending NYC public schools who receive free or reduced-price school lunches.
  • Children who attend private, parochial, and charter schools and who received free school lunches.
  • 3- & 4-year-old children attending Universal Pre-K and who received free school lunches.
  • Young adults ages 19-21 who are still in school and who received free
    school lunches.
  • Foster children who received free school lunches.
  • Any children above with any or no current immigration status.

New York State Eligibility

Here is the breakdown of who is eligible for the P-EBT program so far:

Children who receive free school lunches through the National School Lunch Program are eligible for P-EBT food benefits if their school has been operating with reduced in-person attendance due to COVID-19 during the 2020-21 school year.

This includes children who attend Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) schools and any private, prekindergarten, parochial and charter schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program.

If you are unsure of your child’s participation or eligibility for the National School Lunch Program, please contact your child/children’s school or school district.

How do I apply for New York P-EBT?

There is no application for the P-EBT program. The State will identify households and issue benefits automatically.

When will 2020-2021 P-EBT benefits be Distributed?

Children eligible to receive P-EBT food benefits will receive their benefits for the 2020-21 school year in two payments:

  • First Payment: June 2021 through the end of July 2021, covering the months of September 2020 – March 2021.
  • Second Payment: Summer/Early Fall, covering the months of April 2021 through June 2021.

How do I activate my New York P-EBT Card?

"New York P-EBT Card activation"

In order to use your child’s P-EBT Food Benefit card, you must first call the EBT customer service hotline to select a Personal Identification Number – or PIN.

  • Using a touch-tone phone, dial 1-888-328-6399.
  • When prompted, select your preferred language– for example, press ‘1’ for English.
  • Next, enter the 19-digit number from the front of the card using your phone’s keypad.
  • After entering the card number, you will hear a series of options. If you have not used the card before to access P-EBT food benefits, press ‘1’ to create your PIN.
  • You will be asked to provide the last four digits of the cardholder’s Social Security Number. (The cardholder is the child whose name is printed on the front of the P-EBT Food Benefit card.)
  • Do NOT enter the last four digits of the child’s Social Security Number. Instead, you must enter the two-digit month and two-digit day of the child’s birthday (MM/DD). For example, if the child’s birthday is July 4, enter 0704. *Be sure to enter the child’s actual birthday and not the fake birthday printed on the front of the card.
  • After entering the child’s birthday information, you’ll be asked to enter your zip code.
  • Finally, select your new 4-digit PIN by entering a 4-digit number using your phone’s keypad. You will be required to enter this PIN whenever you make a purchase using your P-EBT Food Benefit card.

Alternatively, you can watch the video below for instructions on how to activate your New York P-EBT Card.

New York P-EBT FAQs

Here are the most frequently asked questions about the New York P-EBT program:

How Much Will I Recieve in New York P-EBT?

The P-EBT amount is based on the number of days the school was closed, or that in-person attendance was reduced due to COVID-19.

For households with children in schools that reported that in-person attendance was not reduced during a month due to COVID, there will not be any P-EBT benefit for that month.

Schools that reported in-person attendance was reduced by:

  • 1 to 12 days during a month, will receive $82 in P-EBT food benefits for that month.
  • More than 12 days during a month, will receive $132 in P-EBT food benefits for that month.

How do I Contact New York P-EBT Customer Service?

If you have questions about P-EBT benefits, you may call the P-EBT Food Benefits Helpline.

You can reach them at 1-833-452-0096.

Alternatively, you can fill out this form with your questions.

How Do I Check my New York P-EBT Balance?

There are three ways to check your P-EBT Balance – Over the phone, via your last transaction receipt, and online.

You can check your New York P-EBT Card balance by calling the Customer Service number on the back of your card.

Here’s the phone number to call: New York P-EBT Customer Service Number: 1-888-328-6399.

Also, you can check the balance on your New York P-EBT card through your last transaction receipt.

Additionally, once you have set up a PIN to access your P-EBT food benefits, you can check your P-EBT card balance by visiting www.connectebt.com.

Where can I learn more about P-EBT benefits?

First, anyone with P-EBT questions can call the New York P-EBT helpline at 1-833-452-0096.

Second, you can visit the New York State P-EBT FAQs page here.

What if I do not want P-EBT benefits?

If families do not wish to receive P-EBT benefits for their children, they should destroy the P-EBT card.

If they change their mind, they may call their state’s SNAP agency to request a replacement card at any time prior to the expiration of the benefits.

How do I order a replacement New York P-EBT Card?

You can order a replacement New York P-EBT Food Benefit card by calling 1-888-328-6399.

Please be prepared to provide security information, including the 19-digit card number that was printed on the front of the P-EBT Food Benefit card you are replacing.

If you do not have that number, you will be asked for the cardholder’s Social Security number.

However, when ordering a replacement P-EBT Food Benefit card, you must enter 999-99 and then the 2-digit month and 2-digit day (MM/DD) of the cardholder’s birthday.

For example, if your child’s date of birth is July 4, you would enter 999-99-0704 when asked for the child’s Social Security number.

Next, you will then be asked to verify the cardholder’s 8-digit birthday (MM/DD/YYYY) and to enter the 4-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN) you selected for the P-EBT food benefits card that you are replacing.

If you did not previously create a PIN, you will still be able to order a replacement card by following the prompts.

How Long will the P-EBT Benefits Stay on my P-EBT Card?

P-EBT food benefits will remain available and accessible on your P-EBT Food Benefit card for at least 274 days from the date they were issued.

New York P-EBT Summary

We hope this post on New York P-EBT was helpful.

Still Have Questions?

For details on the 2020-2021 School Year Extension, click here: New York P-EBT Extension.

Summer 2021 P-EBT Details can be found here: Summer 2021 New York P-EBT.

To apply for SNAP benefits in New York, click here: New York SNAP Eligibility Guide.

For New York Food Stamps Income Limit, click here: New York SNAP Income Limits.

If you have questions about New York EBT Card (CIBC), click here: New York EBT Card Guide.

For details on Restaurants that take food stamps in New York, click here: What Fast Food Restaurants Take SNAP in New York?

If you have further questions about New York EBT Card or SNAP benefits, please let us know in the comments section below.

Be sure to check out our other articles about New York Food Stamps New York EBT, including:
Get Free Admissions with New York EBT Card
How to Get a Replacement New York SNAP EBT Card
New York to Get 25% SNAP Increase
New York P-EBT Extension for 2021
2021 NY P-EBT Reload Dates

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