Frequently asked questions about P-EBT

 

About the P-EBT program

What is P-EBT?

P-EBT provides food assistance benefits on an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card to Colorado families whose school-aged children are eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals at school through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), but who have not been able to access those meals because schools were closed, or on a hybrid or remote learning model due to COVID-19. 

The P-EBT benefits will be electronically placed on the EBT card and can be used to purchase eligible food items at local and online retail stores. 

P-EBT eligibility for pre-K through grade 12 students

Who is eligible?

You will get P-EBT funds if your student(s): 

  • Attend a school that participates in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) AND 
  • Are eligible for free or reduced-price meals at school AND 
  • Attended a school with a "remote" or "hybrid" learning model for at least one month this school year; OR opted for remote learning by October 1, 2020 and continued learning remotely until at least March 31, 2021.
Will using P-EBT impact my immigration status?

No. All households who are eligible for P-EBT may receive it, regardless of immigration status. The public charge rule does NOT apply to P-EBT benefits. 

Are children who are no longer enrolled in school and are being homeschooled eligible to receive P-EBT? 

No. Children who are no longer enrolled in an NSLP participating school or are being homeschooled are not eligible to receive P-EBT for the 2020-2021 school year.

Does it matter if my child is enrolled in a charter, public, or private school?

Students are eligible if their school participates in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and they qualify for free or reduced-price school meals. Check if your school participates in the NSLP here

Will my child still qualify if they switched schools during the school year? What do I need to do?

Yes, they may still qualify. Your child’s P-EBT eligibility will be based on the months they were enrolled in an NSLP school. Please contact both schools to ensure your current address is on file with those schools. If the student changed schools during the year, please contact the new school district to ensure free or reduced-price school meal eligibility status is transferred to the new school.

Getting P-EBT funds for pre-K through grade 12 students

How and when will I get the funds for my pre-K through grade 12 student?

Families eligible for free or reduced-price school meals will receive benefits onto a P-EBT card mailed to the address on file with your school starting late May. Eligible families who participate in SNAP will get P-EBT benefits on their current EBT card starting late May.

I am new to P-EBT and I get SNAP benefits. How will I get P-EBT for the 2020-2021 school year?

If your student(s) are eligible, you will get P-EBT on your current EBT card that is associated with your SNAP benefits. 

My child already receives free school meals this year due to COVID-19. Do I need to apply for free or reduced-price school meals? 

Yes. If you have not applied for free or reduced-price school meals this school year and are not currently on SNAP, you will need to fill out a free or reduced-price school lunch application to see if you’re eligible for P-EBT. 

Does each child need to submit a free or reduced-price school meal application? 

If your children attend the same school, the application would be submitted for the entire household. However, if your children attend separate schools, an application for the household needs to be submitted with each school. 

How much P-EBT will I get? 

Eligible students in remote learning models: up to $136.40 per school month

Eligible students in hybrid learning models: up to $81.84 per school month

The P-EBT amount is based on the primary learning model (remote, hybrid, or in-person) at the district- or school-level per month. Students who opted into remote learning for the year (between October 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021) will be eligible for remote-learning benefits, regardless of their school’s primary learning model.

P-EBT benefits will be issued retroactively for this school year in lump sum payments: 

School months Approximate P-EBT issuance
September 2020 to December 2020 Late May
January 2021 to March 2021 Late June
April 2021 to May 2021 Late July

It is possible benefits could be issued to your student later if there has been a delay in the P-EBT program receiving data from your child’s school district or if your student has lived in a family foster or kinship care placement during the school year.

Why am I getting a different P-EBT amount than in the past?

The $279 in P-EBT funds in Spring 2020 covered average missed school days from March 2020 through May 2020. For school year 2020-2021, funds are issued for each month schools are on a remote or hybrid schedule based on the district average. Additionally, the federal reimbursement rate for school meals for the 2020-2021 school year was updated to $6.82 per day.

Will all my children get the same amount in P-EBT benefits?

It is possible that your children’s P-EBT eligibility will differ depending on their age, learning mode, and which school they attend. These factors could mean that your children receive different amounts of P-EBT.

Do I need to apply to get the funds?

There is no separate application for P-EBT for the 2020-2021 school year. Children must qualify for free or reduced-price school meals and attend a school that participates in the National School Lunch Program to receive P-EBT, and benefits will be issued automatically based on free and reduced-price meal enrollment. Contact your school office to fill out a free or reduced-price school meal application as soon as possible before the end of the school year.

Can I apply at my county office?

There is no separate application for P-EBT for the 2020-2021 school year. If you would like to enroll in SNAP, you may apply online here and your local county office will contact you regarding your SNAP application. To be eligible for P-EBT, apply for free or reduced-price school meals before the end of the school year through your school office or website. 

Do I need my child's school ID number or SASID or SSN?

No, school ID numbers and SSN are not required to apply for free or reduced-price meals. There is no separate application for P-EBT for the 2020-2021 school year. Children must qualify for free or reduced-price school meals to receive P-EBT, and benefits will be issued automatically based on free and reduced-price meal enrollment. Contact your school office to fill out a free or reduced-price school meal application as soon as possible before the end of the school year.

My child is going back to school fully in-person. Will I get P-EBT?

Your child must be learning remotely or in a hybrid learning situation to be eligible for P-EBT. If your child is now back to school full time, but learned in a remote or hybrid model for other months during the 2020-2021 school year while enrolled in an NSLP school, they will be eligible. If your child attended school full-time in person for the entire school year, they will not be eligible for P-EBT benefits. If you need more food help, visit our resources page.

Using your P-EBT card

I’ve lost my P-EBT card from the last round. Do I need a replacement card?

No. Families currently participating in SNAP will receive P-EBT benefits on their current EBT card. Families who are not participating in SNAP will receive new P-EBT cards mailed to their household between late May and mid-June 2021 for each child who is eligible for P-EBT. This new card will be reloaded, so please KEEP THIS CARD. P-EBT cards received in 2020 should be kept until a new card is issued or P-EBT is no longer an active program.

How do I activate my P-EBT card?

Learn how to activate your card here.

Where can I use the P-EBT card?

You can use the card anywhere SNAP benefits are accepted. Learn more here.

What can I buy with the P-EBT card?

You can buy most fresh, canned and frozen food items like:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Meat, dairy, and eggs
  • Rice, beans and dry goods
  • Snack crackers, coffee and bakery cakes
  • Seeds and plants that produce food for the household to eat.

Click here for a complete list of approved food items.

How do I buy food with the P-EBT card?

Instructions on how to pay are here.

Can I use P-EBT funds to buy food online?

Yes, you can use your P-EBT card, just like a SNAP EBT card, to shop for food online from several retailers, including Amazon or Walmart. Learn more here.

Can P-EBT benefits be used with Double Up Food Bucks as well?

Yes, households can earn Double Up Food Bucks (also known as the GusNIP Incentive) and can make qualifying purchases using P-EBT benefits. For more information on Double Up Food Bucks please visit https://doubleupcolorado.org.

Other information

Can students who receive P-EBT benefits continue to access school meals?

Yes. Students that receive P-EBT benefits can continue to access school meals (both Grab and Go or cafeteria meals) and are highly encouraged to do so. P-EBT benefits are intended to supplement the days in which students could not access school meals.

Why should I use P-EBT benefits?

P‑EBT helps families buy food during COVID‑19. The program also helps support Colorado’s economy, including our grocery stores, corner stores and their employees, during this challenging time.

I don’t want to use my P-EBT funds. What do I do?

You may destroy the card. Participation in P-EBT is voluntary.

Can I update my address?

At this time, please contact your school office to update your address.

When will P-EBT end?

The P-EBT program is currently authorized through the current school year (2020-21). We are still awaiting federal guidance on a P-EBT program after the end of the current school year.