(Updated) P-EBT: Relief for Households with School-Aged Children

Illinois’ Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program (P-EBT) will provide 316,000 Illinois households with additional funds to replace the meals children can’t access while schools are closed via LINK cards.

Updated 5/26/2020 with new information about how to apply and graphics in Spanish and English

Due to COVID-19, schools across Illinois have been closed. As a result, families with children who got meals at school have been deprived of food.

In response, Illinois’ Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program (P-EBT) is providing 316,000 Illinois households with additional funds to replace the meals children can’t access while schools are closed.

Table of Contents
How much will families receive?
Who is eligible?
How can I apply?
A Visual Guide to Applying for P-EBT

How much will families receive?

  • P-EBT provides an EBT card that can be used at authorized retailers to offset the cost of meals that would have been consumed at school.
  • P-EBT provides the value of school meals at the rate of $5.70 per child per school day.
  • P-EBT will provide benefits for 21 days in May for a total of $119.70 per school-aged child for May. Households that apply and are approved anytime in May will receive benefits retroactive to the beginning of the month.
  • P-EBT will also be available in June.

Who is eligible?

All CPS families qualify for P-EBT Benefits, but must submit an application for P-EBT if they are not enrolled in SNAP!

  • Households with children enrolled in free or reduced-price school meals, or with a child attending a school that provides all meals for free, can apply directly for P-EBT.
  • Households at or below 185% of the federal poverty guideline but who are not receiving SNAP or free or reduced-price school meals should first call their child’s school to enroll in free or reduced-price meals and then apply for P-EBT.
    • CPS families do not need to do this. They should apply directly for P-EBT.
  • Current SNAP participants are automatically eligible for P-EBT and should see the benefit increase on their LINK card.

P-EBT will be in place until the end of the school year, unless schools reopen before that time.

The public charge test does not consider receipt of P-EBT benefits. Using P-EBT benefits will not impact a parent or child’s immigration status.

Undocumented households with school-aged children are eligible for P-EBT.

How can I apply?

  • Current and newly approved SNAP recipients will automatically see these benefits deposited on their LINK Card.
  • Those not currently on SNAP will have to complete a simplified application and if approved will be mailed a LINK card. This application can be completed through the ABE Online Application system. Approved applicants will receive a LINK card in the mail.

To apply for P-EBT directly through IDHS, use the ABE Online Application system or call 800-843-6154. There’s also a paper application that can be filled out and faxed or emailed to IDHS – links to the paper application can be found below.

Legal Aid Chicago can also help you apply for P-EBT!

  • Call them at (312) 347-8342 for help.
  • For more information on Legal Aid Chicago’s Public Benefits Helpline, click here.

A Visual Guide to Applying for P-EBT