P-EBT Benefits Update for NYC Public Schools: Your Child May Be Eligible
Good news for parents of children in public school! Your child may be eligible for additional P-EBT benefits in New York State for the 2021-22 school year.
If your child received P-EBT benefits for the 2021-22 school year but they were absent for more than five days in any of the months they were paid automatically, you may complete a NYS P-EBT Food Benefit application to receive P-EBT payments for the additional days. If your child did not have any Covid-related absences they will not receive any additional benefits.
The deadline to submit an application is September 30, 2023.
Applications for this round of P-EBT benefits distribution, which is formally known as the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT), will be processed and any benefits your child is eligible for will be issued by Dec. 30, 2023.
This could be the last round of P-EBT benefits for school-age children, as the state said on its website that New York will not be issuing P-EBT benefits for the 2022-23 school year.
A $120 summer 2023 payment was announced this summer, and will automatically be issued to eligible kindergarten through grade 12 students enrolled in June 2023 in a National School Lunch Program-participating school and eligible to receive free or reduced-price school meals. (NOTE: All families with students enrolled in the New York City public school system are eligible for free lunch, regardless of income, so they’ll receive the benefits.)
The P-EBT program was created to help families pay for meals during remote learning while schools were closed due to the pandemic.
How to Receive Additional P-EBT Benefits in New York
To apply for additional benefits for the 2021-22 school year, submit a NYS P-EBT benefits application and confirm the number of days your child was absent or learning remotely due to Covid. You can apply here.
Parents must enter the total number of days their child was absent or remote due to COVID-19 for each month on the application. (NOTE: Entering a “0” means the child didn’t have any eligible absences for that month and will not receive any additional benefits.
After you submit your application, you’ll get an email with your confirmation code. OTDA will then contact you by email to let you know whether or not your child is eligible for the benefits.
P-EBT benefits will be issued either on a household’s EBT card or on a family’s P-EBT card they’ve successfully accessed for 2019-20 and/or 2020-21 food benefits. Other eligible children will receive a P-EBT card in the mail with instructions on how to activate it and access the benefits.
More information about how families will receive P-EBT benefits is available on the state’s website.
For parents wondering why the additional benefits aren’t issued automatically based on their child’s absences in the 2021-2022 school year, the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) website states:
“P-EBT food benefits are calculated based on how many days a child was absent or attending school remotely due to COVID-19. OTDA did not receive attendance information indicating why a child was absent. However, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has allowed New York to count absences of 5 days in a row in any month, to be COVID-19 related. In order to count an absence that did not fall within a period of absence for 5 days in a row to be COVID-19 related and eligible to be considered in the P-EBT monthly calculation, parents/guardians must attest that the absence was due to COVID-19. OTDA has created a P-EBT Food Benefit application which allows parents/guardians to certify that their child’s absence in any month was due to COVID-19.”
P-EBT Benefits in New York: What You Can Buy
Although P-EBT benefits are not Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, they can only be used to purchase the same food items that are covered under SNAP. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the benefits can be used to buy food for the entire household, such as:
• Fruits and vegetables
• Meat, poultry, and fish
• Dairy products
• Breads and cereals
• Snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages
• Seeds and plants that produce food for the household to eat
Families can not use the benefits to buy items such as beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, vitamins, medicines, foods that are hot at the point of sale and nonfood items like pet food, cleaning supplies, paper products, hygiene items and cosmetics.
P-EBT benefits will remain available and accessible on your EBT or P-EBT Food Benefit card for 274 days from the date they were issued. You can check your family’s P-EBT benefits balance by visiting www.connectebt.com or by calling 1-888-328-6399.
Call the P-EBT benefits helpline at 833-452-0096 if you have additional questions about eligibility or anything related to the application process.