Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT)

P-EBT provides nutrition benefits to families who have lost access to free or reduced-price school meals because schools are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible students and families will receive money on a new or existing EBT card to help fill the school meals gap. The benefit will be $5.70/day per student, retroactive to when school initially closed (for Montana the benefit through the end of the 2019-2020 school year will be $330/child). Families can get both P-EBT and “grab and go” meals from schools and community organizations that schools are serving during the pandemic.
All children ages 5 to 18 who were eligible for free or reduced-price school meals as of March 18, 2020 qualify for this benefit. This benefit will be issued through the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS). The P-EBT card works like a debit card to purchase food items anywhere EBT benefits are accepted. DPHHS will notify families of this benefit. Families receiving SNAP will get the P-EBT benefit added to their existing EBT card. Non-SNAP families will be mailed an EBT card with the P-EBT benefit.

The OPI assisted DPHHS to collect data for the new P-EBT program in July. They did so electronically, without asking districts for help as much as possible. Thank you to the school staff who collected and submitted information. DPHHS is currently processing the data for benefit issuance and will work to identify any missing information in the next step.

DPHHS is issuing the P-EBT benefits in a staggered fashion. Please allow time for the issuing of benefit cards; those who have not received something by the end of August, 2020 can send an email to Thank you for your patience.

USDA Guidance on Pandemic EBT

P-EBT Website
Q&A: Pandemic EBT
Guidance to States on P-EBT

Other Resources

FRAC Toolkit
P-EBT Data
P-EBT Information and Instructions



For more information, contact OPI School Nutrition Programs at 406-444-2501.

School Nutrition Programs Home