Here’s great news for all parents who have kids participating in the free or reduced school lunch program or who have children under 6 on Massachusetts Food Stamps! The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has extended the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) food assistance program through Summer 2021. In this post, we are going to explain how the Massachusetts P-EBT works, who is eligible, when cards will be reloaded and how to check the balance on your card.
First, we will explain in detail what the Massachusetts P-EBT program is about.
Next, we will cover who is eligible for the program and how many rounds of P-EBT benefits have been issued so far.
Additionally, we will explain the Summer 2021 P-EBT extension, who is eligible, and how much you can expect in benefits.
Also, we will walk you through how to check the balance of your P-EBT card and how to contact Massachusetts P-EBT customer service.
Lastly, we will answer the most frequently asked questions about the P-EBT program.
Table of Contents:
- What is Massachusetts P-EBT Program?
- Who is Eligible for P-EBT in Massachusetts?
- How to Apply for Massachusetts P-EBT
- P-EBT Extension in Massachusetts – Summer 2021
- When will Summer 2021 P-EBT be Loaded?
- How to Contact Massachusetts P-EBT Customer Service
- How to Check Massachusetts P-EBT Card Balance
- Massachusetts P-EBT FAQs
What is Massachusetts P-EBT Program?
Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) provides food assistance to households with children who are enrolled in a free or reduced-price school meal program while schools are out of session due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The program operates similarly to the Massachusetts SNAP/food stamps program.
Benefits are pre-loaded funds on P-EBT cards to eligible children and can be used exclusively for food purchases.
Pandemic EBT was originally scheduled to expire on September 30, 2020.
However, on October 1, 2020, the program was extended for an additional year – through September 30, 2021.
Additionally, under the American Rescue plan signed into law in March 2021, the P-EBT program was further extended through the end of the pandemic.
Therefore, as long as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and schools are not 100% in-person, the program is likely to continue.
Furthermore, the program’s eligibility was expanded to include children under 6 in SNAP households.
Also, on January 22, in support of President Biden’s call to action on hunger, USDA announced that it is increasing the P-EBT benefit by approximately 15 percent.
This was aimed at providing more money for low-income families and millions of children missing meals due to school and child care closures.
Who is Eligible for P-EBT in Massachusetts?
Here’s who is eligible for P-EBT benefits in the state of Massachusetts:
P-EBT Eligibility & Benefits for K-12
P-EBT is a federal program created in Spring 2020 to provide additional funds for families to buy food during COVID-19.
The P-EBT in Massachusetts has been extended through summer 2021.
Students are eligible for Summer P-EBT if they:
- Got P-EBT in the past, OR
- Were approved by their school for free or reduced-price meals (under the National School Lunch Program).
If you have any questions about eligibility for your child, contact your child’s school.
P-EBT Eligibility & Benefits for Kids 0-5 Years
The federal government expanded P-EBT benefits to:
1) Households with children 0-5 years old, who ALSO
2) Receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
However, families must receive SNAP to be eligible for P-EBT for kids 0-5 years old.
There is no application for P-EBT.
You can apply for SNAP online at DTAConnect.com or call the DTA Assistance Line at (877) 382-2363 (press 7).
If you are determined to be eligible for SNAP, you may also get P-EBT.
How do I find out if I am eligible?
DTA will send you a letter in the mail. You can also check your DTA EBT card on the 25th of each month beginning in March 2021.
P-EBT Extension in Massachusetts – Summer 2021
As part of the American Rescue Plan, signed into law on March 11, 2021, by President Biden, children that are enrolled in the National School Lunch Program or are under 6 years of age and residing in a SNAP household will receive P-EBT over the summer as well.
As a result, The Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA), in collaboration with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), has been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to continue the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) food assistance program through Summer 2021.
The P-EBT program helps families with eligible children whose access to free or reduced-price meals at school or other food assistance has been impacted by COVID-19.
The summer P-EBT is an extension of benefits for the 2020-2021 school year.
How to Apply for P-EBT in Massachusetts
There is no application for P-EBT.
However, you can apply for free or reduced-price school meals with your school nutrition director or SNAP at DTAConnect.com.
Call DTA Assistance Line at (877) 382-2363 (press 7)to potentially get P-EBT.
When will Summer 2021 P-EBT be Loaded?
P-EBT Benefits for K-12
Summer P-EBT benefits in Massachusetts will be available on July 1 and August 1.
P-EBT Benefits for Kids 0-5 Years
Starting March 2021, you will receive benefits on the 25th of each month.
Benefits will cover the month before. For example, in March you will receive P-EBT for the month of February.
Summer P-EBT will be available on July 25 and August 25.
How much will I get for Summer P-EBT?
Each student will get $375 in total, in two payments of $187.50 in July and August.
How to Contact Massachusetts P-EBT Customer Service
If you need to speak to Massachusetts P-EBT Customer service, we can help.
Call the DTA Assistance Line at (877) 382-2363 or visit MAp-EBT.org.
For other food assistance help, call the Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline at (800) 645-8333 (TTY 1-800-377-1292).
How to Check Massachusetts P-EBT Card Balance
You have two options available to you to check the P-EBT balance.
If you have a P-EBT card, you can check your balance by visiting DTAConnect.com/pebt.
Go to the P-EBT Case and Balance Information page (note: on a mobile phone, click on “How Close Am I?” to see the page).
There enter you P-EBT card number. Your balance will show below your P-EBT case number.
You can also call the number on the back of your P-EBT card (800-997-2555).
If you have a DTA EBT card, you can check your balance on DTAConnect.com.
Additionally, the DTA Connect mobile app is available for balance checks.
Also, you can call the number on the back of your card.
Note that your P-EBT will be added to any SNAP on your account – your balance will reflect both.
Massachusetts P-EBT FAQs
Here are the most common questions readers have regarding the Massachusetts P-EBT program:
How do I activate my Massachusetts P-EBT card?
Here’s how to activate your Massachusetts P-EBT card:
- Call the phone number on the back of the card: Massachusetts’ EBT Hotline (800) 997-2555. The Hotline is available in 8 languages.
- Enter your P‑EBT card number and follow the prompts
- Create a PIN:
Enter the last 4 digits of your child’s case number that was provided on the letter you got in the mail
Then enter the child’s date of birth using the 2 digit month + 2 digit day + 4 digit year Example: April 6, 2005 = 04062005
How to activate Massachusetts P-EBT Card Video
If you are having trouble with your P-EBT card activation, the video below will walk you through the process.
Will getting P-EBT impact my family’s ‘public charge’ status?
No. Using P-EBT benefits does not impact your or your child’s immigration status.
The Public Charge rule does NOT apply to P-EBT benefits.
How long do I have to use my P-EBT benefits?
You can begin using your card at any time.
If you do not use your card for one year, any unused benefits will expire.
Do my P-EBT benefits roll over at the end of the month if I don’t use all of them?
Yes. The money will carry over from month to month.
However, as stated above, benefits that are not used for over a year will be removed from the card.
What items can I NOT buy with the P‑EBT card?
Items you can NOT buy with your P-EBT card include:
- Prepared meals sold hot and ready to eat
- Cleaning products
- Toilet paper, paper towels, etc
- Supplements / medicine
- Restaurant food
- Pet food
- Recreational marijuana
Massachusetts P-EBT Summary
We hope this post on Massachusetts P-EBT Benefits was helpful.
If you have further questions about Massachusetts P-EBT, SNAP or EBT in general, please let us know in the comments section below.
Also, be sure to check out our other articles about EBT, including:
Florida SNAP EBT Phone Number
Georgia Food Stamps EBT Phone Number
Alabama EBT Card FAQs
Alabama EBT Deposit Schedule
How to Request a Replacement Alabama EBT Card
Illinois EBT Phone Number