This page, Pandemic EBT (P-EBT), is offered by

Pandemic EBT (P-EBT)

Information about P-EBT, or Pandemic EBT, federal program.

P-EBT, or Pandemic EBT, is a federal program. The Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA), in collaboration with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), received approval to operate this program in response to the COVID-19 related school closures. P-EBT provides food supports to help families with children who were receiving free and reduced-price school meals pay for food.

For more information, visit

Table of Contents

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who is eligible for P-EBT benefits?
All Massachusetts families with school aged children who qualify 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.

2. How do I find out if I am eligible?
You will be getting a letter in the mail from DTA in May through early June. If you do not get a letter in the mail by mid-June and your child received free or reduced-price school meals, contact Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline at (800) 645-8333 (TTY 800-377-1292).

3. My family needs food now. When will I get this?
If your family actively receives DTA benefits (SNAP, TAFDC), you got your P-EBT benefits in early May to cover March and April school closures. You also got your second issuance in the end of May to cover May and June school closures. 

If your family does not currently receive DTA benefits (SNAP, TAFDC), you will get a P-EBT card in the mail late May/early June to access your P-EBT benefits for March and April school closures. Your benefits to cover May and June school closures will be added to your P-EBT card at the end of June.

4. I got a P-EBT card in the mail. How do I activate it?
You will need the notice DTA sent you in the mail with your child’s case number to activate the card. The notice was mailed separately from the card. If you did not get a notice or lost it, visit to view your child’s case number.

Visit for step-by-step guidance on how to activate (PIN) your P-EBT card.

5. If eligible, how much money will I get?
Households will receive $5.70 per eligible student per day, or $28.50 a week. If receiving DTA benefits, your P-EBT benefits will be added to your existing EBT card. If not actively receiving DTA benefits, you will receive a P-EBT card in the mail for each eligible student in your household.

6. How do I check my balance?
You can call (800) 997-2555 (the number on the back of your P-EBT card) to check your balance.

7. 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. Most retailers have signs stating they accept SNAP or EBT.

Starting May 29, you can also use your P-EBT benefits, similarly to SNAP benefits, to buy groceries online from Amazon and Walmart. To learn more, visit

P-EBT benefits can be used to buy any SNAP eligible food, which is most foods, except prepared foods and foods sold hot. For a list of SNAP eligible foods, click or tap here.

8. Do I have to use all my P-EBT benefits when I get them?
No. The money will carry over from month to month. Benefits that are not used for over a year will be removed from the card.

9. Will getting P-EBT impact my family’s ‘public charge’ status?
No. Using P-EBT benefits does not impact your or your child's immigration status. The Public Charge rule does not apply to P-EBT benefits.

10. Can I participate in the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) with my P-EBT benefits?
No. P-EBT benefits are different than SNAP benefits, and cannot be used to receive HIP benefits.

11. Do P-EBT benefits replace grab and go meal sites?
No. P-EBT benefits supplement grab and go meal sites. They do not replace them. Families can find a meal site in their community through Project Bread's School Closure Meal Site Finder​.

12. I am a community organization looking to help spread the word on P-EBT. Where can I find flyers and other outreach materials?
Visit for flyers, social media graphics and more!

Call Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline at (800) 645-8333 (TTY 800-377-1292). The hotline is open Monday – Friday 8 A.M. - 7 P.M. and Saturday 10 A.M. - 2 P.M.



Additional Resources