Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT)
Please tell us if you need assistance with this site or the P-EBT Parent Portal because you have a disability or don’t speak English. Free assistance is available via our P-EBT Hotline at 833-419-3210 and/or the TTY number at 711. You will reach an operator who can provide you with an interpreter.
Si necesita ayuda con este sitio o el Portal de P-EBT para padres debido a que tiene una discapacidad o no habla inglés, no dude en informárnoslo. Tenemos asistencia gratuita disponible a través de nuestra línea de P-EBT al 833-419-3210 y/o el número de TTY marcando el 711. Le atenderá un operador que le podrá proporcionar un intérprete.
Fadlan noo sheeg haddii boggan ama Barta Waalidka ee P-EBT aad uga baahan tahay wax caawinaad sababta oo ah haddii aad tahay qof naafo ah ama aadan ku hadlin af Ingiriis. Kaalmo bilaash ah ayaa laga heli karaa khadkeena P-EBT ee 833-419-3210 iyo/ama lambarka TTY ee 711. Waxaa lagugu xiri doonaa shaqaalaha howl-wadeenka oo kugu xiri kara turjumaan.
What is P-EBT
Short for Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer, P-EBT is a federally funded COVID-19 relief program made possible through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Using P-EBT cards the program provides nutritional assistance to National School Lunch Program participants and qualifying families to replace school meals missed due to COVID-19 related events.
Similar to a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) EBT or debit card, P-EBT cards can be used to purchase food at participating grocery stores, authorized retailers and online retailers that accept SNAP. Parents and caregivers should keep their P-EBT card to be used until the P-EBT program is discontinued.
Operation of the program is approved on a state-by-state basis, for each program timeframe. In Tennessee, the Department of Human Services (TDHS), in collaboration with the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE), operates the P-EBT according to federal approval, guidelines and timelines.
Who Can Receive P-EBT in Tennessee?
P-EBT eligibility is based on two primary points:
- A child’s qualification for free or reduced-price school meals under the National School Lunch Program. This includes any student in a school that provided free meals to all students (under a special rule called "Community Eligibility Provision, Provision 2 and 3 schools").
- If the child missed free or reduced-priced meals at school because the school closed for in-person learning or operated with reduced attendance or hours for at least 5 consecutive days in the current school year.
Who Decides If a Child/Student is Eligible for P-EBT?
Each Tennessee school/school district provides TDHS and TDOE with a list of students that are eligible to receive P-EBT. If you are unsure if your child received free or reduced-priced meals at school, or if your child attends a Community Eligibility Provision, Provision 2 or 3 school, contact your school for more details.
Future, Present and Past P-EBT Eligibility in Tennessee
Since its 2020 inception, multiple “rounds” of P-EBT supported Tennesseans in need. Over time, eligibility for each round of P-EBT adjusted to better meet the challenges of families affected by the pandemic. However, parents and caregivers should keep their P-EBT cards to be used for future rounds of P-EBT.
Review the information below regarding upcoming, current and previous rounds of P-EBT.
School Year 2021-2022 P-EBT
The USDA Food and Nutrition Service approved the continuation of the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) Program for the 2021-2022 school year. However, operation of the program is reviewed and approved on a state-by-state basis.
Tennessee’s plan to issue P-EBT for the 2021-2022 school year was recently approved by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service. Actions are underway to determine eligible children based on their eligibility to receive free and reduced priced meals and excused absences related to COVID-19 before issuing benefits in the Summer.
2021-2022 P-EBT Eligibility
To qualify for the School Year 2021-2022 P-EBT, a child must qualify for the National School Lunch Program and the school experienced a closure or reduction of hours of 5 consecutive days. Children that attend a Community Eligibility Program, Provision 2 or 3 school may also be eligible. Students also must have had a COVID-19 related absence reported to their school.
P-EBT for the 2021-2022 School Year is available to:
Children that receive free or reduced-price meals through one the following:
- National School Lunch Program, income application or direct certification
- Enrollment in a Community Eligibility Provision school,
- Enrollment in a school operating under Provision 2 or 3, and
- their school experienced a closure or reduction of hours of 5 consecutive days.
Although the basic eligibility factors have not changed much from Summer P-EBT (2021), on a local level, some schools may have changed their administrative and COVID-19 closure protocols. TDHS and TDOE have worked to determine which children are eligible for the benefit and exactly how to ensure benefits are accurately distributed.
As more details are finalized regarding P-EBT for the 2021-2022 school year, updates will be posted on the TDHS P-EBT webpage and on TDHS social media accounts.
How to Apply for 2021-2022 School Year P-EBT: Parents do not need to apply for P-EBT benefits. Qualifying children are automatically enrolled in 2021-2022 School Year P-EBT according to records provided by Tennessee schools. No application required.
Important Note: If your child has received an EBT card previously, please keep the card.
For more information, and answers to frequently asked questions visit: https://www.tn.gov/humanservices/p-ebt/school-year-21-22-p-ebt-faq.html
School Year 2021-22 P-EBT Reconsideration Process
The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) is taking action to resolve any missing P-EBT benefit amount for School Year 2021-2022 in advance through the Reconsideration Process. The Reconsideration Process will take place from July 22, 2022 through August 29, 2022. TDHS will issue P-EBT Benefits on current P-EBT cards around September 2022 for children with an approved reconsideration request submitted by the children’s parent. Parents can see these benefits reflected in the P-EBT Parent Portal (onedhs.tn.gov/parent).
2021-2022 P-EBT Reconsideration Eligibility
If your child does not receive the correct benefit amount and has missing days considered as excused absences due to COVID-19, the parent can claim missing days through the Reconsideration process.
To process a Reconsideration for the School Year 2021-2022 P-EBT, a child must have missed school due to a COVID-19 related “excused absence” documented at the school and not received P-EBT benefits for eligible days. Children that attend a Community Eligibility Program, Provision 2 or 3 school may also be eligible. In addition, a child must participate in the National School Lunch Program and the school should have experienced a closure or reduction of hours for 5 consecutive days.
For more information on the Reconsideration Process visit: https://www.tn.gov/humanservices/p-ebt/school-year-2021-22-p-ebt-reconsideration-process.html
Child Care P-EBT (For SNAP Households)
The Child Care P-EBT program provides financial assistance to cover meals for children ages 6 and under, living within households that receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and may have missed meals due to Child Care interruptions caused by COVID-19. To be eligible for Child Care P-EBT children must:
- Be 6 years old or under, and
- Live in a household currently receiving SNAP food assistance benefits
Child Care P-EBT benefits will be issued in one lump sum payment on July 28, 2022 on the household’s existing SNAP EBT card. The amount of Child Care P-EBT benefits will vary for each eligible child and household based on the child’s age and number of months over the August 2021 to May 2022 timeframe in which the family received SNAP benefits.
The Tennessee Department of Human Services and Tennessee Department of Education are making every effort to ensure all qualifying children from previous timeframes/rounds (2020-2021 school year) of P-EBT are provided benefits. In March 2022, eligible children that did not receive assistance through Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) program for the 2020-2021 school year will receive a retroactive benefit payment. This includes any newly income eligible households during that time. Those households will be provided Retroactive P-EBT benefits based on the eligibility criteria of each qualifying month. Each qualifying child will receive P-EBT benefits for the amount owed on an EBT card. If the child already has an active P-EBT card, benefits will be added to that card. If a new P-EBT card is needed please visit www.connectebt.com or call 1 (888) 997-9444. If the child has not received P-EBT before, a new EBT card will be mailed to their home. The amount of P-EBT benefits will vary for each eligible child.
In general, eligibility for retroactive P-EBT is based on:
- The child qualifying for free or reduced-price school meals, and
- The child must not have attended in-person learning for a timeframe indicated in each round of P-EBT. (See specific qualifying details for each round below).
Parents may check the status of their child’s eligibility using the P-EBT Parent Portal at https://tdhs.service-now.com/relief.
TDHS has also launched a SMS text conversation program to help individuals navigate the P-EBT benefits process, receive timely updates and reminders for their P-EBT benefits. To learn more about signing up for the text message service visit the P-EBT Parent Portal at https://tdhs.service-now.com/relief.
After visiting the P-EBT Parent Portal, if there are questions, call the P-EBT hotline at 833-419-3210. If a new P-EBT card is needed please visit www.connectebt.com or call 1 (888) 997-9444.
Retroactive P-EBT benefits will be deposited in March 2022.
Summer P-EBT was available to two groups:
- School-aged children who qualified for the National School Lunch Program as of the last day of July. Beginning August 6, 2021, eligible school-aged children will receive a single disbursement of $375 in food benefits on their existing P-EBT card. Children who qualified for Summer P-EBT in June or July will receive their deposit by the end of September 2021. Unlike previous rounds of P-EBT, Summer P-EBT is available to students who were enrolled in virtual or in-person learning.
- Children under the age of 6 whose family received benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in June and/or July. Eligible children under 6 who qualify through their family’s SNAP participation will receive a disbursement of $375 on their regular SNAP EBT card later this month.
Application Process: Qualifying children were automatically enrolled in 2021-2022 P-EBT according to records provided by Tennessee schools. No application required.
Round 3 of Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) provided financial assistance to replace school meals that were missed beginning in October 2020 due to school closures, virtual learning, or hybrid school schedules. Qualifying children were mailed a P-EBT card to buy food at local and online retailers that accept EBT cards. Unlike previous rounds of P-EBT, these cards were reloaded with P-EBT benefits each month the USDA continued the program.
P-EBT Round 3 Eligibility
P-EBT Round 3 was opened to students that:
- Receive free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch
Program (or) Attend a Community Eligibility Provision school.
- Missed school meals because the school was closed or operated at reduced attendance for at least 5 consecutive days in the 2020-2021 school year.
The amount each student receives varied based on their learning schedule.
Application Procedure: Qualifying children were automatically enrolled in 2021-2022 P-EBT according to records provided by Tennessee schools. No application required.
Starting in March 2021, new P-EBT Cards were mailed directly to students that qualified according to information provided by Tennessee Schools.
P-EBT Round 2 benefits were sent to the homes of children that qualified in October 2020. If you believe your child qualified for P-EBT Round 2, but did not receive a P-EBT card, you may still be able to take action by filing an appeal.
P-EBT Round 2 Eligibility
Children were eligible for P-EBT Round 2 benefits if:
- The child must not have attended in-person learning for a least 5 consecutive days.
- The child was eligible for free or reduced-price school meals, or attended a Community Eligibility Provision school
For children that qualified for P-EBT, but did not regularly receive SNAP benefits, P-EBT cards were sent to their homes after the parent applied for the benefit, or to the school the child last attended for pick-up. Any cards that were not picked up at the child’s school were sent back to TDHS.
Children were eligible for P-EBT Round 1 benefits if:
- Their school closed due to coronavirus (COVID 19); and
- They are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals
P-EBT Round 1 benefits were sent to existing SNAP recipients on their EBT cards. If you believe your child qualified for P-EBT Round 1, but did not receive a P-EBT card, you may still be able to take action by filing an appeal.
How to Find P-EBT Eligibility Status, Benefits, and Help
Need help with the Parent Portal? Check out our Parent Portal Resource Guide:
Have questions? Review our Frequently Asked Questions section below for answers. Still need help? Call the P-EBT Assistance Line at 833-419-3210.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Who decides if a child/student is eligible for P-EBT?
Each school/school district provides TDHS with information on students that are eligible to receive P-EBT. If you are unsure if your child received free or reduced-priced meals at school, or if your child attends a Community Eligibility Provision, Provision 2 or 3 school, contact the school for more detail.
2. When will I get my P-EBT benefits?
Each round of P-EBT has a timeline based on federal approvals and collaboration between the Tennessee Departments of Human Services and Education. To check the status and distribution date of P-EBT benefits, parents can use the P-EBT Parent Portal by visiting https://tdhs.service-now.com/relief or calling the P-EBT hotline at 1-833-419-3210. Distribution dates are also shared on the TDHS website, and on TDHS Facebook and Twitter accounts.
3. How much will I get?
The P-EBT amount is based on each student’s school learning situation which is confirmed by their school and can vary from student to student, even within a family. To view the amount your child may receive, visit the P-EBT Parent Portal at https://tdhs.service-now.com/relief.
You can check your P-EBT card balance on www.connectebt.com or by calling the number on the back of your P-EBT card.
4.How will I get my P-EBT benefits?
You will receive a P-EBT card for each eligible child in your household mailed to your address provided by the school. To ensure we have your correct address please visit https://tdhs.service-now.com/relief as soon as possible - login/create an account, click the Parent Portal button, and update your address if needed.
5. Should I keep my P-EBT card after using benefits?
Yes, you should keep your card in case you qualify for future P-EBT program benefits. Your card will be reloaded as long as the program continues and you qualify.
6. Why did my student not receive a P-EBT card?
If you think your student qualifies but you have not received a card, Call the P-EBT assistance line at 833-419-3210.
7. My address is incorrect, can I update my address?
Yes, to update please visit https://tdhs.service-now.com/relief login/create an account, click the Parent Portal button and update your address as needed. You may also call the P-EBT Assistance Line at 833-419-3210.
8. I don’t agree with the P-EBT amount my child received, what can I do?
Families who would like to appeal would access the Appeals Online Portal at OneDHS.tn.gov or call (833) 419-3210. Families have 10 days from the date the children received cards to appeal.
9. I was told my child is not eligible to receive P-EBT, but I believe they are eligible. What can I do?
Families who would like to appeal would access the Appeals Online Portal at OneDHS.tn.gov or call (833) 419-3210. Families have 10 days from the date the children received cards to appeal.
10. I don’t want to use my P-EBT funds. What do I do?
If you do not feel your family needs the P-EBT benefits, and you would like to decline benefits, please destroy the card after you get it. P-EBT benefits are non-transferrable. You can also decline to participate by visiting https://tdhs.service-now.com/relief login/create an account, click the Parent Portal button and select Decline Benefits.
11. I have received my student’s P-EBT card, how do I activate it?
Please call 1-888-997-9444 to activate the card. To activate the card, you will need the last four (4) numbers on the P-EBT card. When it asks for the last four (4) digits of the child’s social security number, use 0000 and date of birth for the child identified on the card. During the activation process you will be instructed to select a four-digit personal identification number (PIN) which you will use at retailers along with the card to access the benefits.
12. Do I have to activate my student's P-EBT card by a specific date?
We encourage all families to activate each student's P-EBT card as soon as the card is received.
13. Do I have to use all my P-EBT benefits when I get them?
No. Unused P-EBT benefits will carry over from month to month. Unused funds will be removed from the P-EBT card after one year.
14. How do I check my P-EBT balance?
You can call 1-888-997-9444 (the number on the back of your P-EBT card) to check your P-EBT balance.
15. I lost my P-EBT card. Can I get a new one?
Yes. Visit www.connectebt.com to request a new P-EBT card or call 1-888-997-9444.
16. Where can I use my P-EBT benefits? What can I buy with them?
You can use your P-EBT benefits at any store that accepts SNAP, including at select online grocers. Most retailers have signs saying they accept SNAP or EBT.
17. What if I do not use all the P-EBT benefits?
Unused P-EBT benefits will carry over from month to month. Unused funds will be removed from the P-EBT card after one year.
18. What can I buy with the P-EBT card?
You can buy most fresh, canned, frozen food items including but not limited to:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Meat, dairy and eggs
- Rice, beans and dry goods
- Seeds to grow your own plants
19. What items can I NOT buy with the P-EBT card?
Items you can NOT buy include:
- Prepared meals sold hot and ready to eat
- Cleaning products
- Toilet paper, paper towels, etc.
- Supplements / medicine
- Pet food
For more information regarding eligible food items visit: https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/eligible-food-items
20. Who do I contact for any additional questions I may have about P-EBT?
For any additional questions you may have regarding P-EBT, call the P-EBT Assistance Line at (833) 419-3210.