Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT)

Important information about food assistance for eligible students

Free and Reduced Meals Information and Application

Virginia Department of Social Services Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) Program

P-EBT Update for the 2021-22 School Year

May 24, 2022 - Virginia's P-EBT program has been approved by the USDA to issue benefits for the 2021-2022 school year. Eligibility requirements have changed and benefits will be issued based on revised federal guidelines that schools and students are required to meet. The release of benefits to students will be determined by information each school/school district provides to the Virginia Department of Social Services. Fewer households are expected to receive the benefit due to most students attending school in person and having access to school meals at no cost.

What are the changes this school year?

  • Both the school and student must meet specific eligibility criteria in order to qualify for P-EBT benefits.
  • Benefits will be issued to the eligible student based on the number of days the student was absent from school or participated in full-time, remote instruction due to a documented COVID-19-related issue, such as exposure, illness, or community transmission.
  • The receipt of benefits for past school years does not guarantee eligibility for the current school year.

The Virginia Department of Social Services in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Education is launching P-EBT for School Year 2021-2022 in Virginia.

This nutrition assistance program was extended to help school-aged children with no access or limited access to free or reduced priced meals at school due to the public health emergency. The benefits for this round of P-EBT are retroactive starting September 2021. The first issuance will begin on Wednesday, May 25, 2022. 

The eligibility requirements for School Year 2021-2022 benefits are in the chart below. Note: the school the student attends must first be deemed eligible before the student may become eligible. A significant decrease in P-EBT eligible students is anticipated.

P-EBT Eligibility Requirements
A school is eligible for P-EBT if the following conditions are met: A student is eligible for P-EBT benefits if the following conditions are met:
The school was closed or operating at reduced hours or reduced attendance for five (5) consecutive days in one month because of a COVID related issue, The student attends a school that participates in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and meets P-EBT school eligibility requirements,
AND the school participates in the National School Lunch Program AND the student qualifies for free or reduced-priced meals or attends a CEP school,
   AND the student was absent from school during the month because of a documented COVID-19 related issue.

Please note that ALL schools and centers in FCPS are currently (as of May 25, 2022) eligible for this program.      

The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program is a federal program created in the spring of 2020 to supplement school meals that students missed while schools were closed or placed on part-time attendance schedules due to COVID-19. To be eligible for P-EBT benefits, students must qualify for free or reduced-price school meals under the National School Lunch Program and meet certain conditions as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Households that do not meet eligibility requirements for the P-EBT program are encouraged to call 2-1-1 Virginia or visit to download the COVID-19 Virginia Resources mobile app for streamlined access to critical and actionable resources from 2-1-1 Virginia, CommonHelp, and other state and federal agencies.

If you believe there are students in your household who met all of the P-EBT requirements and you have not received P-EBT benefits or you have questions regarding previous issuances of benefits, please contact the P-EBT Call Center from 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. Monday - Friday and Saturdays from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. at 866-513-1414 or 804-294-1633 or use the P-EBT Online Inquiry Form. Please do not contact your child's school or local department of social services with P-EBT questions.

Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program