The Department of Human Services today announced the launch of a live hotline to assist families with the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) program. Pennsylvanians who have not received their child’s P-EBT benefits or have an issue with P-EBT can dial 484-363-2137 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
P-EBT is designed to help eligible families cover the cost of breakfasts and lunches their children would have been eligible to receive for free or at reduced price through the National School Lunch Program in child care or school settings that closed temporarily or permanently due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Families can use their P-EBT benefits to purchase almost any food item in a typical grocery store, and the program follows the same rules as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
More than 1 million children in Pennsylvania are eligible for P-EBT and more than 757,000 cards have now been activated by families who choose to use the benefit. DHS has received approximately 30,000 requests to reissue lost cards or cards that were never delivered.
Staff are monitoring the phone line and webform, responding to inquiries as soon as possible, and mailing replacement cards when they are requested. While parents may experience long wait times on the hotline initially, DHS is continuing to hire and train additional staff to help families resolve outstanding inquiries as quickly as possible.
DHS is also working to reissue about 35,000 P-EBT cards in specific areas that have indicated significant instances of P-EBT cards that were not received or not activated. These cards should be received by eligible households by early November.