School Year 2020-2021 Pandemic-Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT)
School Year 2020-2021 Pandemic-Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT)
This page was originally produced Jan. 18, 2021;
Jan. 26, 2021 updates below in gray boxes.
Question and Answer Guide
Through the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently authorized the Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program through the 2020-2021 school year. The Ohio Department of Education is partnering with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) to ensure children receive this important benefit. This question and answer document provides guidance to districts and schools for determining student eligibility for the P-EBT and submission of student P-EBT data.
1. Can a school or school district submit student data for P-EBT if the school has offered grab-and-go meals to eat at home, meals distributed at bus stop locations, home delivered meals or pick up at school and take home meals?
Yes. Qualifying students may still receive P-EBT in these cases. Note that students may not receive P-EBT for instruction days where the student is at the school building and offered meals at school to eat at school.
2. What schools qualify to submit student data for P-EBT?
The school or school district must have participated in the National School Lunch Program in school year 2019-2020 and would have participated in National School Lunch Program in school year 2020-2021 and meet at least one of the following conditions:
- The school has operated fully remote for at least five consecutive days between Aug.1, 2020-June 30, 2021; OR
- The school has operated a hybrid schedule for all students for at least five consecutive days between Aug. 1, 2020-June 30, 2021; OR
- The school provides fully in-person instruction between Aug. 1, 2020-June 30, 2021, but has students fully remote learning due to parent option (such as a virtual academy); OR
- The school provides fully in-person instruction between Aug. 1, 2020-June 30, 2021, but has students who have stayed home at least five consecutive days due to COVID-19 or COVID-19 quarantine.
Weekends, holidays or school breaks are not included. See question five for data collection window deadlines and details for timing of student data submissions.
3. If my school qualifies to submit student data based on the previous question, which students are eligible for the P-EBT?
Students must be in preschool (preK) or grades K-12 and attending a building that would have been on the National School Lunch Program had the pandemic not occurred, is qualified for free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program in either school year 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 and meets at least one of the following scenarios:
- The student does not receive free or reduced-price meals at the school because the school provides fully remote education.
- The student does not receive free or reduced-price meals at the school because the student’s parent/guardian opted for fully remote education.
- The student does not receive free or reduced-price meals at the school every day because the school provides hybrid education (for example, a mix of in-person and remote instruction).
- The student does not receive free or reduced-price meals at the school because the school operates at reduced hours during the day (for example, a student comes to the school building for only three hours per day with no meal service). The school can submit the count of reduced hour days with no meal service for each free or reduced-price student. If the school is providing meals to eat at school, the student is not eligible for P-EBT for these days.
- The student does not receive free or reduced-price meals at school because the student is quarantined at home for COVID-19 for at least five consecutive days. The student can receive P-EBT for the remote learning days due to quarantine.
- Any combination of the above. An example is a district that started the school year providing fully remote learning and switched to hybrid or vice versa
4. Our school switched to the Summer Food Service Program or Seamless Summer Option for school year 2020-2021, thus technically it is not on the National School Lunch Program. Can our school submit student information for P-EBT?
Yes. If the school participated in the National School Lunch Program in school year 2019-2020 and intended to participate in school year 2020-2021, the school may submit student data for the P-EBT for students meeting the criteria in question two above. Schools uncertain if they meet this requirement can contact the Ohio Department of Education’s Office of Integrated Student Supports at 1-800-808-6325.
5. Since our school switched to the Summer Food Service Program, staff did not focus on collecting 2020-2021 free and reduced-price student meal applications. Are the students eligible for P-EBT?
Schools should make free and reduced-price applications readily available to households for completion and submission and run direct certification matches to determine if students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals.
Any current preschool or students grades K-12 who qualified for free or reduced-price meals in either school year 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 may be eligible for P-EBT if they meet the conditions in question two above. A child’s eligibility for free and reduced-price meals for P-EBT purposes can be based on any of the following:
- Direct certification for school year 2020-2021; or
- Certified through a free or reduced-price student meal application for school year 2020-2021; or
- Enrolled in a Community Eligibility Provision school or school operating under Provision 2; or
- Directly certified, determined other source categorically eligible or certified by application in school year 2019-2020 and the school district has not made a new school meal eligibility determination for the child in school year 2020-2021.
6. When is the deadline for the P-EBT data submission?
There will be four data collection windows in school year 2020-2021:
- Feb. 2 deadline: Submission of data for eligible students in preschool and grades K-12 reflecting remote education or reduced hours of attendance with no meal provided at school from the first day of school (on or after Aug. 1) through Dec. 31, 2020:
- Include the data for students already submitted for August and September benefits and any students who were missed in August and September but should have received the P-EBT, including preschool students;
- Any students who already have had benefits issued in August and September will have the August/September days adjusted accordingly based on the benefit already paid to avoid duplicate payments;
- Schools will be notified by the Information Technology Centers (ITCs) if their data submission requires corrections. Corrected data must be submitted by Feb. 23. If this deadline is missed, the corrected data will need to be added to the March data collection.
- March 11 deadline: Submission of eligible student data reflecting remote education days from Jan. 1-Feb. 28, 2021;
- May 13 deadline: Submission of eligible student data reflecting remote education days from March 1-April 30, 2021;
- July 8: Submission of eligible student data reflecting remote education days from May 1-June 30, 2021;
7. How do I submit the P-EBT data?
All districts and schools must submit their data through a secure data submission link sent directly to the districts and schools. All districts and schools eligible to submit P-EBT data have access to the secure portal, even if the schools do not have a relationship with an ITC. A communication with the technical student data submission details will be emailed to the National School Lunch Program food service director registered with the Ohio Department of Education in the Claims Reimbursement and Reporting System (CRRS) and the EMIS coordinator. The message will come from email@example.com, so please alert staff to this. If the food service director or EMIS coordinator is not the desired contact for this service, please notify firstname.lastname@example.org and include the school name, IRN and contact’s name, email and role within the school.
Schools can request assistance from their ITCs. Schools that do not have relationships with ITCs may request assistance by completing the assistance form on the P-EBT portal, calling the helpline at 1-866-244-0071 or emailing email@example.com.
8. I have identified students who should have received P-EBT in August/September but have not yet. How can I submit the student information for their benefit?
By Feb. 2, for each student qualifying for P-EBT, the school can submit the total count of remote learning and/or reduced-hour days by month starting the first day of instruction on or after Aug. 1 through Dec. 31. Please note the following:
- August and September are reported together as one month because that was a separate reporting period governed by a different set of guidelines.
- Do not count days the student was in school and offered a school meal or any weekends or school holidays/non-instructional days.
- The data processing system will deduct days for any students who were reported for August/September and already have received benefits for those days.
9. Do schools still need to be closed for five consecutive days for a student to receive P-EBT benefits?
In the original August/September benefit period, a school had to be closed for at least five consecutive days for a student to receive benefits. Under the revised plan, a school has to have been either not providing in-person instruction (includes virtual or remote learning) or has been operating with reduced attendance or hours for five consecutive days under a hybrid schedule. Note that the five consecutive days does not need to be Monday-Friday. Any period of five consecutive school days will qualify, such as Wednesday-Tuesday. See question one for a description of school conditions that qualify a school to submit student data for P-EBT. Once the school meets the minimum five consecutive day threshold, free or reduced-price eligible students are eligible to receive P-EBT benefits for all days they do not attend school in person, including the five consecutive days that establishes eligibility and they do not have access to meal service at the school due to COVID-19.
10. If a school is operating exclusively in person and does not offer a remote or virtual option for students to select, would a free or reduced-price eligible student qualify for P-EBT when a student has to quarantine for 14 days due to contracting COVID-19 or exposure to someone who tested positive?
Yes, if a free or reduced-price eligible student needed to quarantine for at least five consecutive days, the student would be eligible for all quarantine days.
11. How will I know if student records were successfully submitted for P-EBT? How do I correct accidental omissions?
Upon the initial submission, the school will receive a submission report. The submission report will indicate the number of successful records and any student records in error that did not transmit for P-EBT benefits. Student records in error must be corrected by the school and data loaded again by Feb. 23. The corrected file can include all students or only corrected students. The school must meet the Feb. 23 record correction deadline or corrected records will be added to the March data collection.
Once the funds have been awarded to students, the school will be able to view funded students and the number of days they were funded.
If a school accidently omits a student or reports an incorrect number of days the student should have qualified for the P-EBT benefit, the school may include updated information in the next data collection. Instructions will be sent prior to each data collection. Please note, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services is unable to update or change P-EBT benefits over the phone for students accidently omitted, so please do not refer the households to the P-EBT helpline or Ohio Department of Education if the student was accidently omitted.
12. How will the households know they are receiving the P-EBT benefit?
All schools should inform eligible households of the P-EBT benefit. To assist schools with the communication effort, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services published a P-EBT flyer in English, Spanish and Somali. The flyer is available on the P-EBT webpage. To inform households of the P-EBT benefit, schools can use any of their typical methods of communication such as email, newsletter or robocall.
13. What number should households call if they need to update their mailing addresses or have questions about their P-EBT cards?
If you confirm the student’s information was shared for P-EBT, the household may call the P-EBT helpline at 1-866-244-0071 for questions regarding card activation or address changes. Please ensure the address is changed in school records for subsequent P-EBT data submissions. If the student’s information was accidently omitted from the P-EBT data collection, please let the household know the P-EBT benefit will be corrected in the next data round. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services is unable to update or change P-EBT benefits over the phone for students accidently omitted.
14. Who should school officials contact if they have P-EBT questions?
School officials may contact the P-EBT helpline at 1-866-244-0071 or submit a support request through the Ohio K12 Help P-EBT Portal.
Last Modified: 2/26/2021 4:40:20 PM