Now Available: Pandemic EBT (P-EBT)
Under the new P-EBT program, families of children who receive free or reduced meals at school or attend a Community Eligibility Provision school may receive financial assistance to replace school meals during the months of March, April and May due to COVID-19 school closures. The program will provide parents with $5.70 per child for each day that child qualifies for P-EBT.
- Parents who already receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits currently, do not need to apply. The funds began arriving on the EBT card of current recipients, if eligible, beginning June 12.
- Parents who do not receive SNAP or TANF benefits, but whose children do qualify for free or reduced school meals, will need to apply for P- EBT online beginning June 15. The application period has been extended to Friday, August 14, 2020 at 4:30 PM Central Time. To apply, click the button below.
Individuals who need assistance completing their P-EBT application or have general questions about the program are encouraged to call the TDHS Family Assistance Service Center at 1-866-311-4287.
Qualifying families will receive P-EBT support in two installments, one for meals in March and April initially, and then one additional disbursement later next month for May meals.
The P-EBT Application is also available in additional languages:
Once completed, these applications can be emailed to P-EBT.DHS@tn.gov.
Have Questions? Chat with Us. Answers to frequently asked questions are also listed below.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are ‘P-EBT’ or Pandemic EBT benefits?The Families First Coronavirus Response Act allows children who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals at school to receive extra food benefits. These food benefits are called Pandemic EBT or P-EBT benefits. P-EBT benefits help families in Tennessee purchase food when school is closed.
Who is eligible for P-EBT benefits?
Children are eligible for P-EBT benefits if:
- Their school closed due to coronavirus (COVID 19); and
- They are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals
How do I get P-EBT benefits?
Most families with children who currently receive SNAP or Families First benefits do not need to apply online. They will get their P-EBT benefits on their current EBT card.
Families with children who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals and who do NOT get SNAP or Families First benefits may apply online here. Clients with limited English proficiency or a disability may apply orally.
How much in P-EBT benefits will I get?
The total amount you will get depends on how many eligible children are living in your home and based on your date of eligibility with the Department of Education for the free or reduced-priced meals program.
What can I buy with P-EBT benefits?
Your P-EBT benefits can be used to purchase food at most grocery stores, farmer's markets and online at Amazon and Walmart.
Use your P-EBT card like a debit card:
- Select "EBT"
- Swipe the card
- Enter your private four-digit PIN number
What should I do when I get my P-EBT card in the mail?
Follow the instructions that came with your P-EBT card and create your private four-digit PIN number. An EBT card looks and is used like a bank debit card to buy food at authorized retail grocery stores and farmer's markets. To find authorized retail food stores near you, the SNAP Retailer Locator can be found at https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/retailer-locator.
How long do I have to spend my P-EBT benefits?
You can use your P-EBT benefits for one year. It starts on the date you get your P-EBT card.
When will my benefits arrive?
Benefits will begin arriving for those who are approved and currently receive SNAP or TANF benefits beginning June 12. Approved families that do not receive SNAP or TANF will receive an EBT card in the mail in July.
Will I get all of my benefits at once or in separate payments?
Families who qualify for P-EBT for March and April will get those benefits in one payment initially. If they qualify for P-EBT in May they will get a second payment approximately three weeks later.
How will I know if my application is approved or denied?
Once processed, families will receive an approval or denial notice via email.
How do I apply if I don’t have internet?
The application will only be available online. This application will be mobile friendly and you can utilize a smart phone to apply. If you do not have a smart phone, you may find online resources at your local library. You may also call your local TDHS office to schedule an appointment to access the online application.
Are there income limits for P-EBT?
Children must be eligible for the National School Lunch Program.
Do my preschool age child/children qualify for P-EBT food benefits if they were receiving free and/or reduced-price meals?
Children ages 3 and 4, who attended pre-kindergarten and who received free or reduced-price lunch are also eligible to receive P-EBT benefits.
Do my foster child/children qualify for P-EBT food benefits if they were receiving free and/or reduced-price meals?
All children receiving free or reduced-price school lunches are eligible to receive P-EBT food benefits for the days their school was closed due to COVID-19
Do young adults ages 19 to 21 who are still in school and receive free and/or reduced-price meals qualify for P-EBT food benefits?
Young adults with disabilities who are ages 19 through 21 who were in school and who received free and reduced-price meals are also eligible to receive P-EBT food benefits.
Is my family still eligible to participate in school meal programs at COVID-19 emergency locations if we receive P-EBT?
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.
What if I have shared custody of my children?
Children who are automatically eligible for P-EBT because they are on SNAP or Families First will receive their P-EBT benefits on their current EBT card. Children who are eligible for P-EBT but are not receiving SNAP or Families First benefits must apply. The P-EBT application should be completed by the parent who is responsible for purchasing and preparing a majority of a child’s meals (more than 50%). P-EBT benefits cannot be split on two cards, but parents can share a single P-EBT card.
My family receives SNAP benefits and received SNAP Emergency Allotment supplements for April, May and June. Will this have any effect on if or when my qualified child/children will receive the P-EBT food benefits?
P-EBT benefits are NOT SNAP benefits. Therefore, eligibility for or receipt of P-EBT food benefits is not affected by your receipt of the SNAP Emergency Allotment supplements.
Do my homeschooled child/children qualify for P-EBT food benefits?
Households with homeschooled children do not usually receive free or reduced-priced school lunches and therefore may not be eligible for P-EBT food benefits. Please contact your school district with questions concerning access to the free or reduced-priced school lunch program.
My SNAP benefits are scheduled to run out at the end of June. Do I need to apply or will the benefits be applied to my existing EBT card?
No application necessary. If eligible, the P-EBT benefit will be added to existing SNAP EBT card.
I'm appealing my SNAP case. Will I have to apply for P-EBT?
If you have an open SNAP or TANF case, and your child participated in the school lunch program, P-EBT benefits will be added to your existing EBT card.
Will I be eligible if my child receives free lunches at a charter school?
Yes. The program will be available for any child that participated in the school lunch program, and the school closed for 5 or more consecutive days.
What if my child is home schooled and my family receives SNAP?
The child’s physical school must have been closed for 5 or more consecutive days and the child must have participated in the school lunch program to be eligible for the P-EBT benefit.
Am I eligible if my child who received free and reduced lunches just graduated?
What if I have an existing EBT card for the emergency cash assistance program for families who’ve lost employment due to COVID-19?
This EBT card can not be used for P-EBT. If approved, you will be sent a new card to be used with the P-EBT program.
Who created P-EBT? Who runs the program?
Congress authorized the P-EBT program in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020. The program is overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered in Tennessee by the state Department of Human Services and state Department of Education.
In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race,
color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.
Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.
To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: How to File a Complaint, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:
- mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
- fax: (202) 690-7442; or
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.