MONTGOMERY – Alabama families who qualify for Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) can expect to see additional benefits loaded onto their EBT cards within the next week.

The Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR) in June issued P-EBT benefits to approximately 470,000 children who missed out on free or reduced-price school meals because of the pandemic. Those benefits covered meals missed from August through December 2020. Now, eligible children will receive benefits for January through May 2021.

The upcoming P-EBT benefits will be added electronically to EBT cards that eligible families already received in June and July. Recipients should keep their cards because additional benefits may be added in the future.

Children in pre-K and K-12 qualify for P-EBT if they lost access to meals from the National School Lunch Program during the 2020-21 school year because their schools closed or switched to virtual and hybrid learning models in response to the pandemic. Children who returned to in-person learning from January through May are not eligible for these benefits because they were present in school to receive their meals through the National School Lunch Program. Eligibility is based on data from the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE).

DHR oversees the distribution of P-EBT with assistance from ALSDE. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service administers the program at the federal level.

Alabama DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner said, “When our children grow up and reflect back on the challenges of the pandemic, our hope is that they won’t be burdened by painful memories of childhood hunger. The P-EBT program has definitely helped Alabama provide children with more food throughout this difficult period in history.”

There is no application for P-EBT; ALSDE has provided DHR with the names of children enrolled in the National School Lunch Program, which qualifies a child for P-EBT.

A toll-free customer service hotline (1-800-410-5827) is available for questions related to P-EBT. Support specialists are available from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Due to a high volume of calls, callers are encouraged to remain on the line if they experience wait times.

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