The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has begun mailing out Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) cards to Maine families, and some parents are understandably reaching out with questions. P-EBT was established as part of the U.S. government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These cards can be used for food in any store that accepts Maine Supplemental Nutrition Program Benefit cards (SNAP).
Here are answers to common questions about the P-EBT cards that our families are receiving:
● Why did I receive a P-EBT card? All Portland Public Schools, except PATHS (Portland Arts & Technology High School), are special provision schools, CEP or Provision II. This automatically qualifies students enrolled in our schools in June 2023 for the final federally funded Summer 2023 P-EBT cards that are distributed and handled by DHHS.
● What do I do with the P-EBT card if I don’t want to use it? The Maine Department of Education says that if your family chooses to not utilize these benefits, simply destroy the card. Any unused cards/benefits will remain in the State of Maine's SNAP account.
● Why did I receive multiple cards? If your children were not receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), you will receive a separate P-EBT card for each eligible child. The summer 2023 benefit is $120 per child.
For families that received P-EBT cards last school year, the P-EBT for the 2022-2023 school year, or the summer of 2023, will be issued on the same card. If you need a replacement card you can request one using the Maine EBT Online Portal or by calling (800) 477-7428.
For families with children currently receiving SNAP, the summer 2023 P-EBT benefit will be issued on the same card.
The P-EBT program is separate from the school meals program so we are unable to provide further information on amounts of benefits, where benefits can be used, or when you should receive a card. The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) website can provide answers to most P-EBT Frequently Asked Questions. After visiting the DHHS website, if you need to speak to someone at DHHS, they can be reached at 855-797-4357, Option 5.
We hope the above information is helpful in answering our families’ P-EBT questions.
Director of Food Services
Portland Public Schools