DHS distributing last rounds of pandemic food benefits for children

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) said Minnesota families will get the last rounds of pandemic food benefits for children starting this month and into this summer as the federal public health emergency for COVID-19 wraps up.

A news release from DHS said eligible Minnesota families with children will start getting pandemic food benefits for the current school year this month, adding that some families will get a “final round of smaller summer benefits in July.”

The Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer Payments (P-EBT) brought more than $723 million to children in Minnesota since March 2020, DHS said in the news release. Families get $8.18 for each day a school-age child misses school because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting this month, $10.4 million in P-EBT benefits are set to go to the families of more than 29,000 students and 49,000 children who are 5 years old and younger. The benefits are authorized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and just issued by DHS.

The news release adds that some homeschooled students or ones that attend online classes during this school year will also be eligible for the first time, although their benefits will likely arrive in July.

Additionally, students who are eligible for summer food benefits and attended school in person during the last month of the 2022-23 school year are also expected to get those benefits in July, DHS says. However, this year’s summer benefit is $120, down significantly from the $435 last summer. Also unlike last year, kids under 5, those who are homeschooled and online students aren’t eligible for the summer food benefits.

DHS notes that for school-year P-EBT, families with kids ages 5 and under in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Minnesota Family Investment Program or Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families will get $35 per month between September and December 2022. The amount for January to May 2023 hasn’t yet been determined.

Once issued, those funds will be available on P-EBT cards, which can then be used to buy food.

Food benefits on EBT and P-EBT cards expire after nine months.

For more information:

  • Families using P-EBT or EBT cards can check their balances by contacting ebtEDGE Customer Service at 888-997-2227 or ebtEDGE.com.
  • They can also check the P-EBT or EBT balance from their mobile device by downloading the free ebtEDGE mobile app available at FISGLOBAL.COM/EBTEDGEMOBILE.
  • If they have questions about P-EBT benefits, they can visit mn.gov/dhs/p-ebt or contact the P-EBT Call Center at 651-431-4608 or 833-454-0153.
  • If they have questions about EBT benefits changes or need additional information, they can contact their county or Tribal caseworkers.