What you need to know about P-EBT

The Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Monday that food assistance will be available through a program called Summer Pandemic EBT food benefits in the coming weeks. Programs that provide food assistance with minimal barriers are key to addressing food insecurity for families and DMARC applauds the efforts of advocates who helped make these funds a possibility for the children of Iowa.

Benefits are being issued to eligible school-age children through an EBT card starting this week with cards hitting mailboxes by Oct. 4. This program provides $120/child to households that have school-age children receiving free and reduced meals at school and funds can be spent much like a SNAP EBT card at participating retailers.

What is P-EBT?

Summer Pandemic EBT is food assistance for families and children that started in the 2021-22 School year.

These benefits are issued as a EBT card (similar to SNAP) that are being delivered in the mail. If your child/children was in grades K-12 during the 2022-2023 school year and received free and reduced-price meals at school through the National School Lunch Program as of May 31, 2023 then you are eligible to receive this benefit. For those that are eligible, the cards will be sent automatically to the address that you provided.

How do I use these benefits?

P-EBT cards are being issued in the mail and can be used to purchase eligible food items anywhere SNAP EBT cards are accepted. View this online map tool to find a local retailer close to you.

Items that you can purchase with an EBT Card: dairy, eggs, meat, cereal, rice, pasta, bread, fresh, frozen, canned or dried vegetables and fruit, any ingredients you use for cooking, baby formula, diabetic foods, garden seeds, plants for growing food at home, and ice.

Food you typically can not use EBT card to purchase: Food that is already prepared or hot food, pet food, and non-food items are not eligible for purchase with P-EBT cards. For more information, please visit https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/eligible-food-items.

Didn’t receive a card?

P-EBT cards are being mailed to the address that was provided to HHS when you applied for SNAP.

If you think the card was sent to the wrong address or need to update your mailing address, contact the P-EBT Customer Service Center at 515-420-6048 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday to update the address and request a new card. If you don’t receive the card, the earliest you can request a replacement is October 4, 2023.

If you have additional questions about these benefits, visit the online  EBT FAQ at https://hhs.iowa.gov/food-assistance/related-programs/P-EBT, call 211, or reach out to DMARC at 515-277-6969.

Don’t forget – regardless of income or residency, you can visit one of our 14 partner food pantries to shop for food for you and your family at no cost. Find a pantry near you at: https://www.dmarcunited.org/food/pantry-locations/

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