Pandemic EBT (P-EBT)

Information about Pandemic EBT, or P-EBT.

P-EBT is a federal food assistance program created in Spring 2020. The Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA), in collaboration with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), received approval to temporarily operate this program during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information, visit (website available in 6 languages).

Table of Contents

K-12 P-EBT Eligibility & Benefits

1. Who is eligible for P-EBT benefits?

Students are eligible for School Year 2021-2022 P-EBT if they:

  • Are eligible for free or reduce-price meals under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), or
  • Attended a school that serves free meals to all students (under a special rule called the Community Eligibility Provision); AND
  • Had any excused COVID-related absences*. These are excused absences that fall under one of the following categories:
  • Absences due to positive COVID test
  • Absences due to asymptomatic close contact or quarantine
  • Absences due to student being symptomatic in accordance with Protocol C of the state’s COVID absence policy (any symptoms that would keep student home from school, COVID positive or not)
  • Days that a student participated in remote learning (either due to temporary school closure or due to remote learning during quarantine) also count as P-EBT eligible days


*In accordance with Protocols A – C of the state’s COVID absence policy

Students attending virtual academies full time are not eligible for P-EBT.

Universal free school meals are also available for all Massachusetts students this 2021-2022 school year. Students can get free school meals and P-EBT.

Check back soon for information on P-EBT for kids age 0-5 who are in a household that receives SNAP benefits.

2. How much will my student get in P-EBT benefits?

A student’s P-EBT benefit amount per month will depend on the student’s number of school-reported COVID-related absences for each month.

The monthly amounts are:

  • 1-5 absences: $21 a month (per student)
  • 6-15 absences: $71 a month (per student)
  • 16+ absences: $128 a month (per student)

For information on eligible absences, see eligibility section above.


3. When will my student get their P-EBT benefits?
On May 25, 2022, eligible students will receive a retroactive P-EBT payment for their total number of COVID-related absences from September 2021 to April 2022, as reported by their school.

The remaining P-EBT payments will be issued monthly for the rest of the school year on the 25th of each month. For example, P-EBT benefits for May school COVID-related absences will be issued on June 25, 2022.

4. How will I get P-EBT?

If a student received P-EBT in the past, they will get their School Year 2021-2022 P-EBT benefits on the same card. Most children in a household that receives DTA benefits (SNAP and/or TAFDC) got P-EBT directly on their DTA EBT card. Children in households that do not receive DTA benefits got their P-EBT benefits on a P-EBT card.

Newly eligible students will receive their School Year 2021-2022 P-EBT benefits on their DTA EBT card if they are in a household that receives DTA benefits (SNAP and/or TAFDC). If the household does not receive DTA benefits, they will receive a P-EBT card for each eligible student.

Kids 0-5 Years Old on SNAP P-EBT Eligibility & Benefits

1. Who is eligible for child care P-EBT?
You will get P-EBT if you have an infant or child 0-5 years old, AND your family gets SNAP benefits. 

Don’t get SNAP? Apply now online or call (877) 382-2363 and press 7.

2. How much will my kid get in P-EBT benefits?
Eligible children will get $37 per month for September 2021 through November 2021 child care days. The amount is based on the average decrease in child care meals provided during these months compared to before the pandemic. 

Information on December - June payments will be coming soon.

3. When will my kid get their P-EBT benefits?
Check your SNAP EBT card on June 25th for funds. On June 25th, you will receive a special one-time payment to cover the months of September through November 2021. 

Info on other payments coming soon.

Check your balance on, the DTA Connect mobile app or call the number on the back of your card. 

Using P-EBT Benefits

1. I lost my P-EBT card. Can I get a new one (replacement card)?
Yes. Visit to request a new P-EBT card. Go to the “P-EBT Card Replacement Request” page. Enter your information. NOTE: some information is required, like child’s date of birth. The required information will say (required) next to it. Then click submit.

2. I got a P-EBT card in the mail. How do I activate (PIN) it?
You will need the letter DTA mailed to you with your student’s case number to activate (PIN) the card. The letter was mailed separately from the card. If you lost the letter, visit the “P-EBT Case and Account Balance Information”  page on (note: on a mobile phone, click on “How Close Am I?” to see the page). Type in your P-EBT card number to view your student’s case number.

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

3. Do I have to activate (pin) 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, but there is no set deadline to activate or PIN the P-EBT card. 
4. Do my P-EBT benefits roll over at the end of the month if I don’t use all of them?
Yes. The money will carry over from month to month. Benefits that are not used for over 274 days will be removed from the card.

5. How do I check my balance?
If you have a P-EBT card, you can check your balance by visiting Go to the “P-EBT Case and Balance Information” page (note: on a mobile phone, click on “How Close Am I?” to see the page). There enter your P-EBT card number. Your balance will show below your P-EBT case number. You can also call the number on the back of your P-EBT card (800-997-2555).

If you have a DTA EBT card, you can check your balance on, the DTA Connect mobile app or by calling the number on the back of your card. Note that your P-EBT will be added to any SNAP on your account – your balance will reflect both.

6. 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 online from Amazon, BJ’s, Daily Table, Stop & Shop, and Walmart, as well as ALDI, Hannaford, Price Rite, Price Chopper and Stop & Shop via Instacart. Most retailers have signs saying they accept SNAP or EBT.

P-EBT benefits can be used to buy any food that can be bought with SNAP. SNAP eligible food is most foods, except prepared foods and foods sold hot. 

7. 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.

SNAP benefits are also NOT counted in a Public Charge test. If you are not a US citizen or eligible immigrant, you can get SNAP for an eligible family member (like your U.S citizen child). 

8. 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.

Community Outreach

1. 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/text, robocall/text/email language in: Arabic, Cape Verdean, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, English, Haitian Creole, Khmer, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish & Vietnamese.

Questions & Extra Food Help

1. Who did I contact for questions on P-EBT?
Call the DTA Assistance Line at (877) 382-2363 or visit

2. I need more food help. Who do I contact?
For other food help, call the Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline at (800) 645-8333 (TTY 1-800-377-1292).