Pandemic EBT Benefits
The Department of Social Services (DSS) and the Department of Education (SCDE) are working to provide Pandemic EBT benefits to qualifying children across South Carolina, and we need your help to ensure children attending your school are able to receive them if they are eligible. All households with potentially eligible students are strongly encouraged to validate their address in the DSS P-EBT Address Portal on or before March 19, 2021. The P-EBT Address Portal is located on the DSS website, at: https://benefitsportal-test/#/pebt/addressverification. To locate a child in the Address Portal the parent must have: Student Last Name, Date of Birth, Student ID, School District and School Name. If a parent or guardian does not know the Student ID, they must obtain this information from the child’s school.
Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) is an option the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food & Nutrition Service (FNS) has offered to states as an emergency program for the COVID-19 pandemic. The general premise behind the program is that with prolonged school closures, children are consuming meals at home that they otherwise would have had at school through national free or reduced-price meals under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, further straining families’ financial difficulties during this time.
The primary difference between last year’s P-EBT and the current program (P-EBT 2.0) is that the first round was a one-time benefit based on the initial statewide school closures. For the 2020-21 school year, P-EBT 2.0 is a monthly benefit based on the number of days each child is attending school virtually.
Children must meet all of the following criteria to be eligible for P-EBT benefits for the 2020-21 school year:
- Enrolled in a free and reduced-price school meals program or attending a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) school. The attached listing of South Carolina public and private schools participating in the National School Lunch Program, including CEP schools, is available on the DSS website.
- Attending a school experiencing pandemic-triggered closures or reduced attendance/hours.
- Attending school virtually, either full-time or on a hybrid schedule.
The benefit amount for each child is based on a daily rate of $6.82, multiplied by the number of days the student attends school virtually each month. South Carolina will issue P-EBT benefits retroactively and on a staggered issuance schedule. The initial round of P-EBT cards will be mailed out by April 16, 2021, to qualifying students who were eligible based on at least one day of virtual school attendance between September 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020. If a student remains eligible through the end of the school year, additional P-EBT benefits will be loaded onto that same P-EBT card in April, May, and July 2021.