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, eligible families received up to $425 per child to help feed their children while many schools and summer meal programs were closed. P-EBT benefits will be available during the 2020-2021 school year pending approval of the Minnesota State P-EBT plan.
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.
Congress has authorized the P-EBT program for the 2020-2021 school year. States recently received guidance from the USDA about required changes to the program. This new guidance includes significant changes from the 2019-2020 school year P-EBT program. The Minnesota Department of Human Services is working with the Minnesota Department of Education to determine the best process to ensure that all eligible Minnesotans are able to access this important program.
We understand the frustration in waiting for these much-needed benefits. Typically, the effective dates of new benefits or programs are several months after legislation passes to allow time for agencies to establish necessary implementation steps. During the pandemic, funding for benefits like P-EBT has been authorized with dates very close to the legislation passing. Both federal and state agencies still require time for set up, but the effective date allows benefits to be retroactive.
We hope this helps in understanding why there is a time difference between the effective date and the date benefits are issued. We will keep this page updated and recognize the importance of getting these benefits to Minnesota families as soon as possible.
There will not be an application for 2020-2021 school year benefits. Benefits will be issued on a new P-EBT card, and eligibility will be determined automatically based on enrollment in SNAP, the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) and/or free and reduced-price school meals.
If you are not enrolled in any of these programs but have a need for 2020-2021 P-EBT food benefits, please apply for SNAP/MFIP or for free and reduced-price school meals.
Please remember that if you have already been denied for either of these benefits and your circumstances have changed, you may be newly eligible and are welcome to reapply.
There will not be an application for 2020-2021 school year benefits, and not all of those who were eligible during the 2019-2020 school year will receive benefits again. Benefits will be issued on a new P-EBT card, and eligibility will be determined automatically based on enrollment in SNAP, the Minnesota Family Investment Program or free and reduced-price meals. Benefit amounts will be based on the time periods in which your child attended school through a distance- or hybrid-learning model.
While we await plan approval, there are some steps that families can take to ensure a timely and accurate decision about their P-EBT eligibility once benefit issuance begins.
Some families may not have signed up for free or reduced-price school meals for the 2020-2021 school year because they were planning to do distance learning. If you are not already receiving SNAP or MFIP, it is important to sign up for these meals if you qualify for them in order to ensure P-EBT eligibility.
2020-2021 P-EBT Hotline
A P-EBT Hotline for the 2020-2021 school year program has not yet started. Information about the program and how to prepare for it is available in the frequently asked questions above. We are aware that there are additional questions about this new program and we will continue to update this site as we learn additional details.
P-EBT benefits can be used to purchase the same items that can be purchased by SNAP benefits. For information on what can be purchased with P-EBT, visit USDA’s “What can SNAP Buy?” webpage. Additional information is available in the How to use your MN EBT Card (PDF) brochure.
At the store, use your P-EBT card like a debit card:
P-EBT can currently be used to buy food online through Aldi, Wal-Mart and Amazon, though more retailers may be approved in the future. You can find information about online food purchases here.
There are many ways you can check your P-EBT food benefit balance.
Call EBT Edge Customer Service at 888-997-2227. You have four tries each day to enter your correct PIN. After four incorrect attempts, you cannot use your card until 12:01 a.m. the next day or until you reset your PIN, whichever is sooner.
To use EBT card support, you may need to verify you are the authorized user of the card by validating your identity and address. If you have moved, please validate using the address you listed on your application.
No, you do not need an ID to use your P-EBT card.
P-EBT benefits are available for one year after the last date they are used or until all benefits are used.
No, once all of the funds on your 2019-2020 school year P-EBT card have been expended you can destroy this card. If you are eligible for the 2020-2021 school year P-EBT benefit, a new card will be mailed to you for each of your eligible children.
Yes. P-EBT benefits are additional benefits that do not replace any child nutrition program meals being offered. Children may continue to receive “grab-n-go” meals or emergency food at COVID-19 emergency feeding sites offered by schools and community locations, even if they are receiving P-EBT benefits.
No, P-EBT does not count as benefits under the public charge rule. If you have additional questions about how public charge may affect your ability access other programs, please contact: Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid at LawHelpMN.org or call 800-292-4150.
If you did not receive a 2019-2020 P-EBT card but were notified that you were eligible, please complete the 2019-2020 P-EBT Help Form.
If you are having a problem using a 2019-2020 P-EBT card, please contact EBT Edge by calling 888-997-2227 or visiting www.ebtEDGE.com.
If EBT Edge is unable to resolve problems with your 2019-2020 P-EBT card, such as address changes or date of birth questions, please complete the 2019-2020 P-EBT Help Form.