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Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) is a temporary food benefit available to Minnesota families with children who would have received free or reduced-price meals if schools were open. During the 2019-2020 school year and the following summer, more than 265,000 Minnesota children received P-EBT benefits. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) authorizes the P-EBT program. The Minnesota Department of Human Services and Minnesota Department of Education collaborate in the operation of the program in Minnesota.

General overview: Eligibility | BenefitsContact us and text messages

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for the 2020-2021 P-EBT Program?

There are two groups of children eligible for P-EBT. Some children may be eligible as part of both groups.

School-based P-EBT

To be eligible through their school program, children must qualify for free or reduced-price school meals through the National School Lunch Program, and must attend a program for which the Minnesota Department of Education has the required data. In addition, to receive school-based P-EBT benefits, the child or child’s school must have been in distance or hybrid learning for the majority of school days of the month. 

P-EBT 5 and Younger 

Children are eligible for P-EBT 5 and Younger benefits if:

  • The child was age 5 or younger on Oct. 1, 2020, AND
  • They received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) or Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF) benefits in any month between Oct. 1, 2020, and the end of the 2020-2021 school year.

Summer P-EBT

Eligible children for Summer P-EBT includes: 

  • Children approved for free or reduced-price meals during the 2020-2021 school year and enrolled in school the last month of the 2020-2021 school year, regardless of their school’s learning model. 
  • Children 5 and younger (as of Oct. 1, 2020) who are enrolled in SNAP, MFIP or Tribal TANF during the months of June or July. 

Families with children who meet the above criteria will not have to take any action.  

There may be additional children who are newly eligible for Summer P-EBT benefits despite not being eligible for P-EBT during the 2020-2021 school year. More guidance on issuing benefits to these children will be released as it becomes available.

How much will I receive? When and how will I receive it? 

School-based P-EBT

Benefits for school-based P-EBT are calculated based on whether the school was in a distance or hybrid status for the majority of the month. Benefits will arrive in the mail on a P-EBT card issued in the child's name.

Please see the school-based P-EBT frequently asked questions page for more details.

P-EBT 5 and Younger

Those eligible for P-EBT 5 and Younger will receive benefits on their existing Minnesota EBT card. 

Please see the P-EBT 5 and Younger frequently asked questions for more details and examples.

Summer P-EBT

Children who are eligible for Summer P-EBT will receive one lump sum benefit of $430 for each eligible child. For most children, benefits will be issued in late July. Children who newly qualify over the summer will be issued benefits in the fall.

If a family received any school-based P-EBT benefits during the 2020-2021 school year, they will receive these benefits on their existing P-EBT card. If a family only received a 5 and Younger benefit during the school year, they will receive these benefits on their Minnesota EBT card. 

Families who were eligible for free or reduced-price school meals, but who did not receive a P-EBT benefit during the school year (typically because their school’s learning model did not qualify) will receive a new P-EBT card mailed to them in late July.

What do I need to do now?

If you are already approved for free or reduced-price school meals, SNAP, MFIP or Tribal TANF, you do not need to take any action.

If you believe your child may qualify for free or reduced-price school meals over the summer or for the 2021-2022 school year, please contact your child’s 2021-2022 school. Please watch carefully for a free or reduced-price school meal application (called the Application for Educational Benefits) to arrive in late summer. Please complete this application as soon as possible and return it to your school. New applications must be approved by Sept. 3 in order to qualify for Summer P-EBT.

Who to call with questions?

P-EBT Hotline

The P-EBT Hotline can be reached Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can submit questions to the P-EBT Hotline through the P-EBT Help Form or by calling 651-431-4608 or 833-454-0153. Please do not submit multiple help forms. This does not result in a faster response and slows staff’s ability to respond to others. 

The hotline and help form can help you:

  • Answer general questions relating to P-EBT 
  • Change the address where your P-EBT card will be sent 
  • Understand notifications you received from the P-EBT program 
  • Answer questions about the amount and timing of benefits issued to your card 
  • Activate your card, if your issue could not be resolved by EBT Edge.

Questions about eligibility for free or reduced-price school meals should be directed to your child’s school.

EBT Edge Customer Service

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For support for existing P-EBT cards, call 888-997-2227 or visit www.ebtEDGE.com. Please note, you will not need to request a new P-EBT card for 2020-2021 benefits, as new cards will be issued automatically. Customer service is available 24 hours per day, seven days per week. EBT Edge can help you:

  • Activate your card
  • Replace a lost or stolen card
  • Check your balance
  • Access transactions such as benefit issuances

View How to use your MN EBT Card (PDF)

The EBT Edge mobile application is available for IOS and Android at www.FISGLOBAL.COM/EBTEDGEMOBILE.

Text notification system instructions

Beginning March 15-19, the Minnesota Department of Human Services will send text messages to families of children who are approved for P-EBT benefits and who provided their school with a valid cell phone number. Texts will be sent each month to any family who is eligible to receive either a new P-EBT benefit or a continuing P-EBT benefit. Families may opt out of texting by responding “STOP” at any time.  

Additional information about P-EBT texting, including a phone number and email address families can contact for assistance, as well as privacy information is available on our P-EBT texting webpage.

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