Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT), authorized by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, provides families of eligible children additional funds to purchase food during the 2020-2021 school year. P-EBT is a complement to the meals and snacks currently being provided to children through the Child Nutrition Programs. P-EBT is administered through the Department of Economic Security (DES) in partnership with the Arizona Department of Education.
P-EBT is intended for children who qualified for free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) but do not have access to receive their lunch at school during the school day because the school is closed or offers a full-time or part-time distance learning model. Receiving a meal/snack through the Child Nutrition Programs (curbside, mobile stops, delivery) even during distance learning does not prevent a child from receiving P-EBT. Only students enrolled in a school that operates either NSLP or the Summer Food Service Program will be eligible for P-EBT.
LEAs may use and customize the P-EBT Parent Letter Template to outreach to families regarding P-EBT requirements. Please note: Schools that began SY 20-21 approved to operate Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), or Provision 2/3 should use the Special Provision Options P-EBT Parent Letter Template (See above FAQ Questions 5,6,7)
To see the monthly payment amounts and anticipated schedule of issuance, see the DES P-EBT Webpage.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved Arizona’s plan to administer P-EBT funds to households of children who qualify on a monthly basis for each month of the 2020-2021 School Year. All eligible children in the school will either receive a full and or partial payment depending if the school required or offered distance learning for the majority of that calendar month. Students must be enrolled in a school that participates in the National School Lunch Program to be eligible for P-EBT.
Full P-EBT payment: All eligible children in the school receive a full P-EBT when the school reports that it was closed or only a full-time distance learning model (no in-school attendance) for all or majority of operating days in the reported month.
Partial P-EBT payment: All eligible children in the school receive partial P-EBT when the school reports learning model(s) that offer distance learning in addition to offering on-campus learning in the reported month.
No P-EBT payment: No children will receive P-EBT when the school reports only an in-person learning model for all operating days in the reported month.
Eligible children must attend a school that participates in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and meet both the student-level criteria and school-level criteria in a calendar month in order to receive either full or partial P-EBT. Full or partial P-EBT qualifications are reassessed on a monthly basis. A partial or full P-EBT payment depends on the school learning models offered within a calendar month.
A child meets the income eligibility for P-EBT benefits if they meet one of the following criteria:
Eligible for free or reduced-priced meal benefits
Attends a school that participates in the NSLP Special Provision Option for either breakfast or lunch: Community Eligibility Provision, Provision 2 or Provision 3.
School-Level Learning Models
A child who attended a school that reported offered/required off-campus learning during a calendar month.
School Reports Data --> DES Sends Data --> DES Pays
ADE will provide DES student-level data and school-level learning models to provide a partial or full payment for each month an eligible student was enrolled in a school that offered/required off-campus learning from August 2020-May 2021. DES must have data that supports a child’s free or reduced-price meal status and enrollment in a school that offered/required off-campus learning. Additionally, DES must have the correct guardian's name and address to issue the funds. ADE will provide DES student-level data and school-level learning models on a frequent basis through June 2021.
Student Free or Reduced-Price Meal Eligibility
ADE will use AzEDS to provide student income indicators. If AzEDS data is not available because a school does not report to AzEDS, ADE will collect a manually generated file from the LEA.
Primary Guardian/Address Information
ADE will AzEDS to provide the name and address of the primary guardian to issue the P-EBT card. If AzEDS data is not available because a school does not report to AzEDS, ADE will collect a manually generated file from the LEA.
School Learning Models
ADE will use the ADEConnect portal School Learning Models to provide available school learning models offered at each school.
Incorrect or Missing Records
Households are instructed to first contact DES for their inquiries to identify why a payment was not issued for one or multiple months. DES will be able to determine if data is missing or not current, or if the child is not eligible for P-EBT due to school learning models or student's free/reduced status.
The following sets of information will prevent a household of an eligible child to be issued P-EBT:
Incorrect primary guardian listed
Incorrect address listed
Missing student free/reduced eligibility
Missing school-level learning models
Missing student enrollment record
Misunderstanding of Eligibility
Arizona has been approved to provide P-EBT on a monthly payment schedule to provide eligible children that meet both the student-level criteria and school-level criteria in a calendar month in order to receive either full or partial P-EBT. Full or partial P-EBT qualifications are reassessed on a monthly basis. Each monthly payment is based on the state’s average number of school days each month.
Regardless if the child has elected a full-time distance learning model, the full or partial P-EBT benefit will be based on the available learning models the school is offering.
Monthly payments are not customized for the number of school days each month the student did not have access to school meals/specific number of days the school was closed. Each calendar month, all eligible recipients will receive either the full payment or partial payment.