Pandemic EBT Questions and Answers

Pandemic Electronic Bank Transfer (P-EBT) 

In a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) district, does every family receive the P-EBT card? 

Yes, every family will receive this benefit if their student attends a CEP school or district. 

 

When is your best guess when P-EBT cards will be distributed to families? 

Since the town hall occurred, the Michigan P-EBT plan has been approved. Families who are not already receiving food assistance benefits should have started receiving MDHHS notices in the mail in late April, with the EBT cards arriving by the first week of May. Families who already receive food assistance benefits should have received their benefits for March and April. 

 

We have several students free or reduced-price meals that do not receive SNAP benefits. How do we help them obtain P-EBT? 

P-EBT cards will be sent automatically from MDHHS if they were already identified in the Michigan Student Data System (MSDS) as Economically Disadvantaged in the School Nutrition Eligibility (SNE) field. 

 

Why can't the State simply issue a check or debit card to families for the cost of meals and let them go to the store and purchase their food, therefore eliminating the school personnel and ensuring our staff's safety? 

P-EBT is meant to address some of that—but it would not get to all families, for example those who are newly unemployed. Thus, we need to consider multiple approaches to making sure all kids eat. School meals still play a crucial role even with P-EBT. 

 

Will families that completed a free/reduced paper application receive P-EBT benefits? 

Yes, those families will be included, if they completed those applications in the first part of the 2019-2020 school year. If they did, those students would have been identified in the MSDS; MDE pulled from that data source and gave it to MDHHS for the P-EBT benefits. 

 

Is it safe to say that we will still distribute meals even when the families receive their P-EBT cards? 

Yes, P-EBT is not meant to replace the meal service you are providing. Your meals will still be needed! 

 

Do you ever foresee Bridge Cards or P-EBT replacing school food distribution? 

No. These are all “legs of the stool,” so to speak. We need a multi-program approach in order to make sure that there are no gaps through which hungry children might slip. 

 

As we serve meals, I cannot help but to think we are still putting lives and health at risk as staff show up to work—why not just use P-EBT across the state as the meals program? 

P-EBT was only ever intended supplement for kids eligible for Free and Reduced-Price Meals. School meals are still important for all children, especially in the current situation. Many families are looking for additional resources to help meet their needs. The Unanticipated School Closure Summer Food Service Program sites are not only helping families that have used Free and Reduced-Price Meals but those that are currently in need of resources they have never had to use before. 

 

I have had a couple parents contact me about the P-EBT. They are wondering if they fill out an application for free and reduced-price meals now, will they be eligible for the P-EBT card? 

In the time since this question was asked, we have heard from CEPI that if schools provide eligibility and correct address information by the Student Record Maintenance (SRM) windows on April 28, May 12, or May 26 Student Record Maintenance (SRM) windows, then P-EBT benefits will reach those families. Therefore, we have asked food service directors and pupil accounting staff to lead the efforts in getting applications for Free and Reduced-Price Meals in from families who are experiencing income changes at this time. 

 

For a school participating in a CEP program, how are names and addresses communicated for the P-EBT program? 

If the student were already receiving SNAP benefits, the address would be the one on file with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. If the student is eligible based on a Free or Reduced-Price Meal Application in School Meal Programs, it will use the address in the Michigan Student Data System. 

 

How does the data get updated for us to include those kids for P-EBT? And will MDE be pulling additional files from MSDS soon?  We have parents calling trying to change their addresses now; will that be too late? 

We have heard from CEPI that if schools provide eligibility and correct address information by the Student Record Maintenance (SRM) windows on April 28, May 12, or May 26 Student Record Maintenance (SRM) windows, then P-EBT benefits will reach those families. Therefore, we have asked food service directors and pupil accounting staff to lead the efforts in getting applications for Free and Reduced-Price Meals in from families who are experiencing income changes at this time. 

 

We are currently distributing meals by bus routes. Due to this crisis, is it also a good idea to also send a new application per household? And, if they fill it out now will they be eligible for P-EBT? 

Yes—please send it along; that is a great idea.  

 

Who does a family contact if they do not receive PEBT money for all their listed children? 

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. 

 

Are they sending PEBT cards for each child in the household or one per household with all the students on it?   

One per household; benefits for all children are on one card; P-EBT Cards will be sent to households with the oldest eligible student’s name on the card and the card should have money for all eligible students on it. 

 

I am a non-public school administrator how do I know when the training for the p-EBT will be available   

We will send an announcement to our non-public school sponsors with all the details on training for P-EBT.  Trainings are being done Monday, May 11 and Tuesday, May 12.  A recorded version will be available on the P-EBT Webpage once it is available. 

 

If a parent's address has changed do, we have them call the 833 number for resolution? 

Addresses must be changed at the school and uploaded into MSDS. DHHS and MDE are unable to change the address. 

 

I am getting questions why some GSRP parents are not getting funds put on their P-EBT cards, yet their other k-12 students are good.  Is anyone else getting that question? 

GSRP students should start seeing cards after May 16 through the end of the month. 

 

What is the phone number that parents can call about their EBT cards? 

The DHHS phone number is 1-833-905-0028 

 

I emailed MDE about a question with a P-EBT Card.  I have a parent that contacted me stated received one card for one child but not the other.  How can I assist them?  Both children's benefits were correct, but they were not linked on power school could that be the issue? 

Pupil accounting person needs to reconcile. 

 

I have 3 families that applied for free and reduced benefits in May and never received their cards. All addresses and info are correct but when they call the number, they do not have answers for them. MDE is working with MDHHS to send more P-EBT cards and will continue to work through these issues.

 

If you are new to unemployment because of Covid and given a Bridge Card for $116, will you still get the P-EBT when your student is enrolled at a CEP district? 

Yes 

 

Will home schooled children receive PEBT card? Who would they call regarding this? 

No – they need to participate in NLSP? 

 

How do I submit for Early Childhood Collection Reporting?  

CEPI Early Childhood Collection Website https://www.michigan.gov/cepi/0,4546,7-113-986_50502_52382---,00.html 

 

Was May 26 the last MSDS collection date for the P-EBT card or will there be another date in June?

There will be one last collection on June 9.