Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Program

Dear Parent or Guardian,

The State of Illinois is approved to provide new Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Program (P-EBT) benefits to all eligible Illinois students. Eligible families do not need to complete a P-EBT application. However, families are encouraged to complete a Household Eligibility Application to determine eligibility for free or reduced meal status if they have not already for School Year 2020-21. It is also essential to ensure your mailing address on file at your enrolling school is current. Please note that citizenship status does not affect eligibility.

What is P-EBT? The purpose of P-EBT is to provide food assistance to families with students who would have received free or reduced lunch while attending school but are not receiving these meals in school due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Who is eligible for P-EBT benefits? The following students are eligible for P-EBT benefits for School Year 2020-21.

  • Students must be enrolled in an eligible NSLP participating Illinois school and;
  • Students must be determined eligible to receive free/reduced lunch for the 2020-21 school year or enrolled in a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) school and;
  • Students are P-EBT eligible on school days in which a reimbursable meal was not provided to the student to consume at school. If “grab and go meals” are provided to students, this does not exclude these students from participating or being eligible for the P-EBT program.

What action needs to be taken now? At this time, it is very important for all eligible students to ensure that the mailing address on file at your enrolling school is current. A complete mailing address will be needed to receive the P-EBT issuance in the near future.

Please also make sure that your eligibility status for free or reduced-price meals is current at the enrolling school. A Household Eligibility Application may be completed at any time, should your circumstances change. Families that are currently receiving SNAP, TANF, or income eligible Medicaid do not need to take any action, as this information is shared with NSLP schools via a secure portal. Visit the Food Service page of the District website (msd19.org) to access the 2020-2021 Free/Reduced Application. Completed applications can be turned into the Principal’s Office of your child’s school.

If my student is P-EBT eligible, when will I receive the benefits? The Illinois Department of Human Services should begin issuing new P-EBT cards to all known eligible students in March 2021.   Please note that all eligible students will receive benefits for all eligible school days, back to the beginning of this school year.  

If you have any questions regarding the mailing address or your student’s free and reduced-price status, please reach out to Susan Sommers, Food Service Director at sommerss@msd19.org.