(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.

UPDATE: The P-EBT application deadline in Illinois has been extended to August 31st!

For more information about recent P-EBT and SNAP updates this August, please see this blog post.

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.

Families have to apply for SNAP or P-EBT by July 15th August 31st to get any P-EBT. The state will no longer accept P-EBT applications after August 31st. Note: Previously, the deadline to apply for P-EBT was July 15th. That deadline was extended by IDHS.

Note: When applying for P-EBT, you are not required to enter a Social Security Number (SSN)! The application will ask for your SSN, but this is optional. However, inputting your SSN (if you have one) will allow your application to be processed more quickly.

Table of Contents

A Visual Guide to Applying for P-EBT
How much will families receive?
Who is eligible?
How can I apply?
Updates to this Post

A Visual Guide to Applying for P-EBT

Return to Table of Contents

How much will families receive?

  • UPDATE: For families who were enrolled in free and reduced price meals in March, if they enroll in SNAP or P-EBT in June, they will get P-EBT benefits retroactive to March – approximately $342 worth of benefits.
    • CPS families are automatically enrolled in free and reduced price meals. Therefore, all CPS families are eligible to receive P-EBT benefits retroactive to March.
  • 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.

Return to Table of Contents

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 August 31st.

Info for Immigrants and Refugees:

  • 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.
  • A Social Security Number (SSN) is not required to apply for P-EBT. The application asks applicants for their SSN, but this is an optional question.

Return to Table of Contents

How can I apply?

  • The deadline to apply for P-EBT in Illinois is now August 31st.
  • 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.

If you have any questions for IDHS, issues applying, or are wrongfully denied P-EBT benefits, you can contact IDHS by emailing dhs.fcs.pebt@illinois.gov.

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

  • Call them at (312) 347-8342 for help.
  • Assistance is available in all languages (including Spanish).
  • For more information on Legal Aid Chicago’s Public Benefits Helpline, click here.

The Illinois Hunger Coalition can also help you apply for P-EBT!

  • Call them at 1-800-359-2163 for help.
  • Assistance is available in multiple languages (including Spanish).
  • For more information on the Illinois Hunger Coalition’s Hunger Hotline, click here.

Return to Table of Contents


Updates to this Post

  • Updated 8/5/20 with P-EBT application deadline extension to August 31st.
  • Updated 6/23/20 with IDHS P-EBT email address and Illinois Hunger Hotline for help with P-EBT applications in most languages.
  • Updated 6/19/20 with new deadline: July 15th 2020. Also clarified the fact that applicants are not required to use a Social Security Number.
  • Updated 6/8/20 with info about retroactive benefits and applying by June 30th
  • Updated 5/26/2020 with info about how to apply and graphics in Spanish and English

Return to Table of Contents

(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.

UPDATE: The P-EBT application deadline in Illinois has been extended to August 31st!

For more information about recent P-EBT and SNAP updates this August, please see this blog post.

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.

Families have to apply for SNAP or P-EBT by July 15th August 31st to get any P-EBT. The state will no longer accept P-EBT applications after August 31st. Note: Previously, the deadline to apply for P-EBT was July 15th. That deadline was extended by IDHS.

Note: When applying for P-EBT, you are not required to enter a Social Security Number (SSN)! The application will ask for your SSN, but this is optional. However, inputting your SSN (if you have one) will allow your application to be processed more quickly.

Table of Contents

How much will families receive?
Who is eligible?
How can I apply?
A Visual Guide to Applying for P-EBT
Updates to this Post

How much will families receive?

  • UPDATE: For families who were enrolled in free and reduced price meals in March, if they enroll in SNAP or P-EBT in June, they will get P-EBT benefits retroactive to March – approximately $342 worth of benefits.
    • CPS families are automatically enrolled in free and reduced price meals. Therefore, all CPS families are eligible to receive P-EBT benefits retroactive to March.
  • 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.

Return to Table of Contents

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 August 31st, 2020.

Info for Immigrants and Refugees:

  • 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.
  • A Social Security Number (SSN) is not required to apply for P-EBT. The application asks applicants for their SSN, but this is an optional question.

Return to Table of Contents

How can I apply?

  • The deadline to apply for P-EBT in Illinois is now August 31st.
  • 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.

If you have any questions for IDHS, issues applying, or are wrongfully denied P-EBT benefits, you can contact IDHS by emailing dhs.fcs.pebt@illinois.gov.

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

  • Call them at (312) 347-8342 for help.
  • Assistance is available in all languages (including Spanish).
  • For more information on Legal Aid Chicago’s Public Benefits Helpline, click here.

The Illinois Hunger Coalition can also help you apply for P-EBT!

  • Call them at 1-800-359-2163 for help.
  • Assistance is available in multiple languages (including Spanish).
  • For more information on the Illinois Hunger Coalition’s Hunger Hotline, click here.

Return to Table of Contents

A Visual Guide to Applying for P-EBT

Return to Table of Contents


Updates to this Post

  • Updated 8/5/2020 with P-EBT application deadline extension to August 31st.
  • Updated 6/23/20 with IDHS P-EBT email address and Illinois Hunger Hotline for help with P-EBT applications in most languages.
  • Updated 6/19/20 with new deadline: July 15th 2020. Also clarified the fact that applicants are not required to use a Social Security Number.
  • Updated 6/8/20 with info about retroactive benefits and applying by June 30th
  • Updated 5/26/2020 with new information about how to apply and graphics in Spanish and English

Return to Table of Contents