Back to School: Resources for Return

School Year 2021-2022 Pandemic-Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT)

The answers to questions 1, 2 and 14 were updated on 10/6/21.

Question and Answer Guide


Question and Answer Guide

    1. What schools qualify to submit student data for P-EBT?
    Answer updated on 10/6/21.

    The school must be eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program and are either participating in the National School Lunch Program or the Seamless Summer Option in school year 2021-2022 and meet at least one of the following conditions:

    • The school has operated fully remote or closed with no instruction due to COVID for at least five consecutive days between Aug.1, 2021-June 30, 2022; OR
    • The school has operated a hybrid schedule for all students for at least five consecutive days between Aug. 1, 2021-June 30, 2022; OR
    • The student’s assigned school building provides fully in-person instruction between Aug. 1, 2021-June 30, 2022, but has students fully remote learning by parent option due to COVID-19; OR
    • The school provides fully in-person instruction between Aug. 1, 2021-June 30, 2022, but has at least one student who has stayed home at least five consecutive school days due to COVID-19 or COVID-19 quarantine. In this situation, once one student quarantines due to COVID-19 for at least 5 consecutive school days, any free or reduced-price eligible student quarantining due to COVID-19 for any count of school days moving forward may be submitted for P-EBT. 

    Weekends, holidays or school breaks are not included.

    Back to Top


    2. If my school qualifies to submit student data based on the previous question, which students are eligible for the P-EBT?
    Answer updated on 10/6/21.

    Students must be in preschool (preK) or grades K-12, attending a school building that qualifies to be on the National School Lunch Program and the building is either participating in the National School Lunch Program or Seamless Summer Option in 2021-2022, is qualified, by the most recent application on file, for free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program in school year 2019-2020, 2020-2021 or 2021-2022 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 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. Once one student quarantines due to COVID-19 for at least 5 consecutive school days, any free or reduced-price eligible student quarantining due to COVID-19 for any count of school days moving forward may be submitted for P-EBT.
    • Any combination of the above. An example is a school that started the school year providing fully remote learning and switched to hybrid or vice versa. 

    Schools must ensure P-EBT benefits are not submitted for students that have graduated or are no longer enrolled in school.  

    Back to Top


    3. Our school participates in the Seamless Summer Option for school year 2021-2022, thus technically it is not on the National School Lunch Program. Can our school submit student information for P-EBT?
    Yes. If the school building participates in the Seamless Summer Option, the school may submit student data for the P-EBT for students meeting the criteria in question two above. Students do not automatically qualify for P-EBT through the Seamless Summer Option per question 9. Schools uncertain if they meet this requirement can contact the Ohio Department of Education’s Office of Nutrition at 1-800-808-6325.

    Back to Top


    4. Since our school participates in the Seamless Summer Option, our school staff does not focus on collecting 2021-2022 free and reduced-price student meal applications. Are the students eligible for P-EBT?

    Schools must make free and reduced-price student meal applications readily available to households for completion and submission and run direct certification matches at least three times during the school year to determine if newly enrolled students qualify and allow households with changed economic status apply for free or reduced-price meals. Any current preschool or students grades K-12 whose most recent free and reduced-price student meal application eligibility qualified for free or reduced-price meals in school year 2019-2020, 2020-2021 or 2021-2022 or categorical eligibility in school year 2021-2022 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 or other categorical eligibility category (foster, homeless, migrant, runaway or Head Start) for school year 2021-2022; or
    • Certified through a free or reduced-price student meal application for school year 2021-2022; or
    • Enrolled in a Community Eligibility Provision school or school operating under Provision 2 in school year 2021-2022; or  
    • Certified by a free or reduced-price student meal application in school year 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 and the school district has not made a new school meal eligibility determination for the child in school year 2021-2022.

     

    Back to Top


    5. A student qualified for free meals in school year 2019-2020 and received P-EBT in school year 2020-2021. The household recently submitted an application, and the application was denied as the household was over the income threshold. Can the student stay on P-EBT based on the 2019-2020 application?
    No. The school must use the most recent available free and reduced-price student meal household application or eligibility determination for free or reduced-price meal eligibility and P-EBT eligibility. In this case, the student is denied meal benefits and does not qualify for P-EBT.

    Back to Top


    6. A household submitted a 2021-2022 free or reduced-price student meal application and was approved for free meals. The application was selected for verification and the household did not respond in the required timeframe. Can the student stay on P-EBT for school year 2021-2022?
    No. If a household does not follow the required verification deadlines, the students on the application must be switched to denied status in accordance with the school meal programs verification process. Once the students are switched to denied status, the students no longer qualify for P-EBT. For more information about the annual verification process, review section 6 of the US Department of Agriculture Eligibility Manual for School Meals.

    Back to Top


    7. When do P-EBT benefits start for a student who newly applies and is approved for free or reduced-price meals in school year 2021-2022?
    For students newly approved in school year 2021-2022 for free or reduced-price meal benefits, P-EBT benefits start for each qualifying day from the day the student’s application was submitted to the school moving forward. For example, if a student is approved for free meals and their application was submitted to the school on October 1, 2021, the student may receive P-EBT on qualifying days starting October 1.

    Back to Top


    8. With authority given in July in Ohio House Bill 110, our School District has opened or intends to open an online learning school in school year 2021-2022. The enrolled children in the online learning school will receive instruction online with no assigned physical school building. Do the students attending the online learning school qualify for P-EBT?
    No. Per the US Department of Agriculture who funds the P-EBT program, a student must be enrolled in a school that qualifies to participate in the National School Lunch Program and that school must either be participating in the National School Lunch Program or the Seamless Summer Option in school year 2021-2022 to qualify for P-EBT. Online learning schools with no assigned/ affiliated physical school building do not qualify for the National School Lunch Program and enrolled children do not qualify for P-EBT.  This includes already existing internet or computer-based community schools with no assigned/ affiliated physical school building.

    Back to Top


    9. Our school participates in the Seamless Summer Option which allows all children to receive a no cost meal and our school may claim that meal under the free reimbursement category. Does this mean that all students at that school qualify for P-EBT?
    No. In order to qualify for P-EBT, a student must qualify for free or reduced price meals through a household application, direct certification, categorical eligibility or attendance in a CEP or Provision 2 building as described in question 5. 

    Back to Top


    10. 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.   If a child gets a meal somewhere on school campus and eats it anywhere on school campus during the school day, even if it is outside the usual meal time, that school day is ineligible for PEBT.

    Back to Top


    11. When is the deadline for the P-EBT data submission?
    There will be a monthly collection of P-EBT data starting in October 2021. The data submitted in October will be for August and September, the data collected in November will be for October, the data collected in December will be for November and so forth. Data corrections for any previous month may be submitted in the current month data submission. The P-EBT data collection will generally open the first business day of the month and close at 5PM the second Thursday of the month.

    Back to Top


    12. 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 pebt-support@ohio-k12.org, so please alert staff to this. If the food service director or EMIS coordinator is not the desired contact for this service, please notify pebt-support@ohio-k12.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 pebt-support@ohio-k12.org.

    Back to Top


    13. Do schools still need to be closed or operating at reduced hours or reduced attendance for five consecutive days for a student to receive P-EBT benefits?
    Yes. A school must be closed due to COVID or operating at reduced attendance or hours for 5 consecutive days during SY 2021-2022 for a student to receive P-EBT benefits. 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.

    Back to Top


    14. 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.

    Back to Top


    15. 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. The corrected file can include all students or only corrected students.

    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.

    Back to Top


    16. How will the households know they are receiving the P-EBT benefit?
    All schools should inform eligible households of the P-EBT benefit. To inform households of the P-EBT benefit, schools can use any of their typical methods of communication such as email, newsletter or robocall. Additionally, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services will send a mailed notice to households regarding the issued P-EBT benefits each month.

    Back to Top


    17. 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.

    Back to Top


    18. 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.

    Back to Top


Last Modified: 10/6/2021 9:49:42 AM

Return to Back to School: Resources for Return