Harrisburg, PA - 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.
“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 (SNAP).
More than one 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. P-EBT cards are being reissued to all eligible children in Luzerne County, as well as other areas listed below:
- Allentown City SD
- Athens Area SD
- Berwick Area SD
- Connellsville Area SD
- Erie City SD
- Hanover Public SD
- Harrisburg City SD
- Hazleton Area SD
- Iroquois Area SD
- McKeesport Area SD
- Mount Carmel SD
- New Kensington-Arnold SD
- Portage Area SD
- Scranton SD
- Steelton Highspire SD
- Susquehanna Township SD
- Titusville Area SD
- Wilkes-Barre Area Career & Technical Center
- Wilkes-Barre Area SD
- Wyoming Area SD
- Wyoming Valley West SD
Families in these districts who have received and activated their cards can continue to use them. Parents who have a standard EBT card for other benefits such as SNAP and Cash Assistance and have children who were deemed eligible for P-EBT will have their P-EBT benefits loaded to their EBT card, if possible. Those who have not received their P-EBT card by November and should have received one should contact the P-EBT Hotline at 484-363-2137 to report an issue.
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.
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