The Department of Human Services announced the launch of a live hotline to assist families with the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer 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.
“The P-EBT program has been a lifeline to Pennsylvania families with children affected by school closure throughout the pandemic, and I understand that delays in receiving this benefit have created challenges,” said Acting DHS Secretary Meg Snead. “We are quickly working to reissue lost or missing cards, and we hope this hotline will help parents resolve card issues with greater ease.”
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.
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 currently working with Pennsylvania’s Department of Education to draft a plan for the 2021-2022 school year in line with guidance from the federal government, and more information will be available soon.
More information about P-EBT and the call center can be found here.