Food Access and Programs

NYS Pandemic EBT: New Benefit under COVID-19

T + T


The Families First Coronavirus Response Act created the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program. In New York State, the P-EBT program provides a food supplement to cover the cost of meals children would otherwise have received at school. Benefits were originally issued for March through June 2020, months in which schools were closed due to COVID-19 during the 2019-20 school year.

Distribution for the 2020-2021 school year began in June and will continue through the summer. Benefit amounts are based on the number of days the school was closed, or that in-person attendance was reduced due to COVID-19.

To qualify, households must have children who would be eligible to receive free and/or reduced-priced meals. Qualifying households do not apply for the P-EBT program, the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) administers the program and automatically issues benefits on an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card.

Description of P-EBT


P-EBT benefits are NOT SNAP benefits. They are a temporary food supplement benefit issued to households with school-aged children who would otherwise receive free or reduced-price meals, whether they are learning remotely or at school.

P-EBT food benefits can be used to purchase unprepared food at participating supermarkets and bodegas that accept EBT transactions. A detailed list of food items that may be purchased with the P-EBT benefits can be found at; this is the same list for households with SNAP benefits.

P-EBT food benefits remain available and accessible on the EBT card for up to one year from the date issued. Households in NYS may check their EBT balance by visiting or by calling 1-888-328-6399.

Households with questions about their P-EBT food benefits or those who have not received the P-EBT food benefit should complete and submit the P-EBT Contact Form.


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, will not receive a 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.

The daily benefit amount is set at $6.82 and includes breakfast, lunch and a snack, which the child would have received had they been in-person.



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.

Households with a Cash Assistance, SNAP or Medicaid CBIC Card

P-EBT funds are automatically added to a household’s Cash Assistance and/or SNAP Common Benefit Identification Card (CBIC) card (also known as an EBT card) or the Medicaid card of the parent (or the Medicaid card of the oldest child in the household who qualifies), if not in receipt of Cash Assistance or SNAP benefits.

When accessing P-EBT food benefits, households must input their Personal Identification Number (PIN). Households without a PIN should select one via the phone by calling 1-888-328-6399. They should be prepared to provide security information, including the household’s zip code and the last four digits of the cardholder’s social security number, to complete this process.

Because the State uses client data collected by HRA to confirm addresses, Medicaid clients who have lost their CBIC cards and have a change of address should contact the Medicaid helpline to update their contact information at 888-692-6116 or e-mail at .

While HRA does not have any role in the distribution of P-EBT benefits, all addresses should always be up-to-date in their systems in order to help facilitate the State’s distribution of P-EBT.

Households without a CBIC Card

Households without a CBIC Card will receive one by mail. The P-EBT card will have an ID number that starts with the letter “I” and a generic birthdate of 01/01/1900.

To access P-EBT benefits, households must have a Personal Identification Number (PIN). When the household receives the child’s P-EBT benefit, they will also receive information about how to select a PIN. They can select a PIN by calling 1-888-328-6399. They should be prepared to provide security information, including their zip code and the month and day of the cardholder’s birthday to complete this process.

Qualifying for P-EBT


Families of non-public school students should contact the P-EBT Food Benefits Helpline: 1-833-452-0096 to learn if they are eligible.

  • Child must be enrolled in a public school, or non-public school, where free lunch is provided as part of the National School Lunch Program.
  • Child is eligible to receive free and/or reduced-priced meals. This includes:
    • All children attending Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) schools where all children attending public schools in the district received free or reduced-price school lunches.
    • Children who attend private, parochial and charter schools and who received free school lunches.
    • Three and four-year old children attending Universal Pre-Kindergarten and who received free school lunches.
    • Young adults ages 19 to 21 who are still in school and who received free school lunches.
    • Foster children who received free school lunches.
  • There are no immigration, income, resource, or employment criteria.
    • P-EBT is not counted as a public charge.

Applying for P-EBT

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

How P-EBT Coordinates with Other Food Programs

There is no impact to households who receive any other food assistance including WIC, SNAP, SNAP Emergency Allotment supplements or Grab and Go meals from the Department of Education.

There are no SNAP reporting requirements for P-EBT benefits.

Additional Help

OTDA is providing a P-EBT helpline at 833-452-0096, available Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 5 pm, as well as contact via e-mail at .

Professionals may also use the e-mail on behalf of clients; they should indicate “Advocate Inquiry” on the subject line to facilitate routing of the inquiry to expedite the response.

Source Materials