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Pandemic SNAP (Also called P-EBT)

9/18/2020 - IMPORTANT UPDATE on Pandemic EBT (Pandemic SNAP)

We are still on track to re-issue P-EBT cards on September 30 to those who emailed mailing address changes or did not get a P-EBT card and the Department of Education has confirmed that you should have gotten one because your child was enrolled in free or reduced lunches when schools closed last spring.  This means your cards will begin mailing by September 30 and can take up to 10 days thereafter to arrive.

But some of you still need to take an action. Please read the list below.

For those who may have already gotten a card but have not activated it, please ACTIVATE the card if you plan to use the benefits so we know you have gotten your card. You do not have to use the benefits on the card right away; we just need you to at least activate it. We appreciate the thousands of you who did so after our last post. To date, families of almost 270,000 Arkansas students have activated their cards.  

If you have not gotten a card, and you have not emailed pebt@dhs.arkansas.gov your information – please do so by Monday, September 21, at 2:00 p.m. This is your last opportunity to let us know and get your benefits. DHS will not be able to issue new P-EBT benefits after September 30. If you are unsure whether your child is on the list to get benefits, please call Client Assistance at 1-800-482-8988 to check. Client Assistance is available M-F 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Please make sure your email includes:

  • Parent’s Name
  • Parent’s Phone Number
  • Mailing Address
  • Child’s Name
  • Child’s Date of Birth
  • School District (that child attended when schools closed in Spring)

If you have already emailed pebt@dhs.arkansas.gov with your information please DO NOT send another email, as this can slow down the team’s ability to process all requests. We are continuing to process emails and make updates to client cases.

A couple of other important things to remember:

  • These benefits are only to help cover higher grocery costs due to school closures in March, April, and May. They do not cover the summer or the 20-21 school year.
  • These are only for schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program. If you have a question about whether your school participates, please reach out to your school.
  • This benefit typically does not include homeschooled students, daycare centers, outpatient behavioral health or day treatment centers, occupational health service, or early intervention learning centers.
  • Not all pre-k students are eligible for this program. It depends on what pre-k they attend and whether that pre-k is enrolled in the National School Lunch Program. Please send us a private message for more information.

Again, we appreciate your patience as we continue to work through this process.

Arkansas has been approved to provide benefits for families whose children were enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program at school at the time the Governor declared a public health emergency and closed schools. It is designed to help replace the cost of meals incurred by families as a result of the State closing schools

Q. Do I have to be enrolled in SNAP to get these benefits? 

A: No, you do not need to be enrolled in SNAP already or eligible for the regular SNAP program. This is for families who have students enrolled in the free or reduced lunch program, which has a different income limit than SNAP.

Q. Do I need to do anything to get this assistance?

A: No. If you are already enrolled in SNAP you will see the additional benefits on your EBT card in late June. For families who are not on SNAP, the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) has given DHS their addresses. DHS will mail an EBT card and information about how to access benefits on the EBT card to the address ADE has on file. These cards will also be mailed in late June.  

Q: What if I need to change my address?

A: Your local school district provided the address you have on file to the Department of Education, and that information was shared with DHS. If your family is not enrolled in SNAP and the address your local school district has on file is no longer right, you should email your address change to pebt@dhs.arkansas.gov. This will not update your address with your school. It is only updated with DHS for Pandemic SNAP. You must update your address by June 15 for Pandemic SNAP.  

Include the following information in your email:

If you are a SNAP client, you can update your address by calling Client Assistance at 1-800-482-8988 or by calling your local county office.

Title Type
Marshallese Instructions  PDF 

Q. How much will I get?

A: For each child enrolled in the free or reduced lunch program, the family will get $319.

Q. My kids were not enrolled in free or reduced lunch program, but we are eligible for it. Can we get the assistance as well?

A: No. This program is only for families that were enrolled at the time the public health emergency was declared and schools were closed.

Q. Will I start getting this every month?

A: No. This is a one-time payment to help cover the costs of meals that would have been provided during the school year.

Q. How can I apply for the regular SNAP program?

A: Go to www.Access.Arkansas.gov, answer the voter registration question, and then complete the application for SNAP.

Q. What if my school is a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) school?

A: All families get the Pandemic SNAP benefit.

Q: Why does the card have the child’s name on it?

A: The benefits on this card are available to your household in place of the meals that your child did not get because of the school closures. So you will get a card for each child that was enrolled. Though the child’s name is on the card, the parent can use it. 

Q: What can I purchase with Pandemic EBT benefits?   

A: You can buy food items and any SNAP-eligible item, see the list of food items you can purchase here.

Q: Can you buy toiletries with this card? Toilet paper, shampoo, soap, diapers, wipes, hand sanitizer, cleaning products?

A: No, you can only buy food items. You can find the list of food items you can purchase here.

Q: What stores can I use these benefits in?

A: Here is the link to the retailers that accept SNAP. Enter your address and a list of nearby retailers that accept SNAP , P-SNAP, and P-EBT benefits will come up.

Q: Can my kids still get meals at school (grab and go) through the summer?

A: Yes. You can find meal options for your children under eighteen here. Also, check out the food access map created by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture here

Arkansas Department of Human Services
Arkansas Department of Human Services

Arkansas Department
of Human Services
(501) 682-1001

TTY: 1-800-285-1131 or dial 711 for Arkansas Relay Service

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