**The information below is for March – May 2020. The P-EBT Program has been extended for the 2020 – 2021 school year for some students. Click here to find out who is eligible for 2020 – 2021 Florida P-EBT Benefits.**
If your child attends a Polk County Public School, check your mail this coming week – a P-EBT card with $313.50 on it is being sent to all Polk County Public School students enrolled in a traditional school, as well as some charter school students. Students must have been enrolled between March-May 2020.
Do you live in a Florida county outside of Polk? You may qualify as well, see School Eligibility below. All Florida students who receive free and reduced lunch should receive a P-EBT card.
Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) is a supplemental benefit for households with children who have temporarily lost access to free or reduced-price school meals due to pandemic-related school closures. Families who are eligible for the free and reduced-price school meals program under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the Community Eligibility Provision are eligible to receive P-EBT. P-EBT benefits will be issued as a one time payment during the month of June.
Who is eligible?
In Polk County, ALL traditional public schools are part of the Community Eligibility Provision and receive free school meals. This means that if your child was enrolled in a traditional Polk County School in March – May, 2020, grades K-12, you should receive a card in the mail. Some charter schools do not qualify, and only students who receive free or reduced lunch at those schools will receive a card. We have also heard that students enrolled in VPK at a public school will receive a card as well, but for $119. (This is not officially addressed in any FAQ’s we could find).
This is a statewide program, not just limited to Polk County. In all other counties in Florida, you would need to check the list of schools below for more information. If your child already receives free or reduced lunch, either through the application or their entire school, you should be eligible.
How do I know if my school is eligible?
Click here to check the list of Florida Schools Participating in the National School Lunch Program. Look in Column D next to your school. If it says “All students qualify for P-EBT benefits (under CEP)” you should receive a card. If it is empty, you will only receive a card if you applied for and received free or reduced lunch during the 2020 school year. If your school is not listed at all, they are not part of the National School Lunch Program and are not eligible.
What else do you need to do to receive a card?
No further action is required on your part to receive your P-EBT benefits. If you do not currently receive benefits, a new P-EBT card will be mailed to the address on file with your child’s school district. Cards will be mailed by June 30.
What to look for in the mail
It will be in a plain white envelope, some have windows for the address and return address, and some are plain. It should come from a PO Box in Milwaukee, WI. (SEE PHOTO ABOVE)
Some have been addressed to the student, and some have been addressed to the parent. Do not throw it away, it is legitimate!!
When will your card arrive?
By June 30 according to the Florida DCF website. Some parents have reported receiving them already, some have received them on different days for students in the same household.
What if you already receive SNAP benefits?
For existing SNAP customers with a child receiving free and reduced-price school meals, the P-EBT benefit will be added to your current EBT card automatically. For Medicaid and/or TANF recipients with a child receiving free and reduced-price school meals, the P-EBT benefit will be automatically mailed to the address on your Medicaid and/or TANF file. No further action is required on your part to receive your P-EBT benefits.
What if you don’t receive a card?
First, check in the PCPS Parent Portal to be sure your mailing address is correct.
If you have not received a card yet, allow the state to fully issue all P-EBT benefits by June 30, 2020, before inquiring about your benefit status. If you have not received your benefit by June 30, 2020, please call 1-888-356-3281 and select the lost or stolen card option.
IMPORTANT!! This is NOT a program run by Polk County Public Schools. Neither your school or the district will be able to help. If you have issues, contact DCF at 1-888-356-3281.
How much will you receive?
If your child was receiving free and reduced-price school meals prior to the school closures on March 16, 2020 (which should be every student at a traditional Polk County Public School, and some charter schools), you will receive a one-time benefit of $5.70 per day, for 55 days, per child, which equals $313.50 per child for grades K-12. If your child was eligible for the free and reduced-price school meals program after March 16, 2020, you will receive a pro-rated amount based on the month of eligibility.
We have heard from parents that VPK students enrolled at an eligible public school in March-May 2020 also received a card for $119.
How do you use the P-EBT card?
P-EBT benefits can be used to purchase food items at retailers displaying a Quest or SNAP logo/signage. There is a free app to locate retailers and keep track of the card balance – download the ebtEDGE mobile app at fisglobal.com/ebtedgemobile.
What can you purchase with P-EBT benefits?
Households can use P-EBT benefits to buy breads, cereals, fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, dairy, and plants and seeds to grow food for your household to eat. Households cannot use P-EBT benefits to buy nonfood items such as pet foods, soaps, paper products, household supplies, grooming items, alcoholic beverages, tobacco, vitamins, medicines, food to eat in the store, or hot foods.
Do the benefits expire?
Yes, 365 days after being issued.
Double your money
You can double your money at the Lakeland Downtown Farmers Curb Market – they double the SNAP with free FAB bucks for Florida grown fruits and veggies sold by market vendors. Stop by the tent at 117 N. Kentucky Ave. to learn more. The Market is closed on July 4, but open the rest of the summer on Saturdays from 8 AM to 1 PM.
Don’t need the money?
If you do not need this additional income, we encourage you to use it to purchase non-perishable food items to donate to a local non-profit organization.
More information and helpful links
P-EBT FAQ: https://www.myflfamilies.com/covid19/docs/PEBT%20FAQ.pdf – This FAQ sheet has a lot of helpful information!
DCF Website on P-EBT Benefits: https://www.myflfamilies.com/covid19/access.shtml