EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Parents that received P-EBT benefits for their children during the COVID-19 pandemic should check their accounts as a new round of payments is expected to be issued in October.

A new round of payments for the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer, or P-EBT, has been approved by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Services to provide families with funds for their children’s meals.

According to the PA Department of Human Services, the payments, that were originally slated to go out in September were delayed by a “system data error.”

It’s been nearly 2 years since the pandemic began and many families are still feeling the financial strain. There’s a meal program in schools that helps pay for food when students are not in the classroom.

P-EBT was introduced back in 2020 and the Department of Human Services says those families can expect to see their cards reloaded this week. It was designed to help families pay for their child’s breakfast and lunch when they’re not in school.

It’s funded by the USDA and it came to Pennsylvania in the spring of 2020. It was meant to be temporary but was intended to address the ongoing national public health crisis.

Similar to an EBT card, the card comes in the mail with the child’s name and can only be used for food.

Children that qualify must:

  • Attend a school that participates in the National School Lunch Program
  • Receive free or reduced lunch through the NSLP
  • Has an approved free or reduced status from a household application
  • Attends a school that participates in the community eligibility provision or CEP

Students must also attend a school that has been closed or reduced attendance for 5 consecutive days.

The amount for each child is determined by the number of in-person vs. virtual learning days.

Distribution for these funds began October 3-14 and is expected to all be issued by Friday the 14th.

There is no application and DHS works directly with the schools to determine which children can enroll and how much they will receive.

DHS says if your child has an existing P-EBT or SNAP card those funds should automatically be reloaded no later than Friday.

If not, you can contact them directly. Those waiting to receive a P-EBT card for the first time should have it through the mail by the end of November.

If you have questions about benefits status or need a new card, PA DHS recommends you visit the Compass Parent Portal.

For more information on P-EBTs, visit the PA Department of Human Services’ website.