Throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Maryland Department of Human Services in conjunction with the Maryland State Department of Education secured approval from the USDA to operate a Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) Program. The program has successfully served approximately 550,000 Maryland children, and the Department of Human Services has issued over $1 Billion in benefits during the past 19 months.
The P-EBT program was federally established as a temporary measure to ensure that school children across the U.S. did not experience hunger due to the lack of access to free meals while schools were closed during the pandemic. At this time, most students across the state have returned to full-time, in-person learning, and those who are eligible are now able to receive free or reduced-price school meals. As a result, most families are no longer eligible to receive P-EBT benefits according to federal rules, including children under six enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Only students receiving instruction through full virtual programs will continue to receive P-EBT benefits this school year. However, Maryland is seeking federal approval to issue additional P-EBT benefits during the 2021-2022 school year. The Maryland Department of Human Services and the Maryland State Department of Education will provide more information as it becomes available. You can find updates about the program on DHS’s Pandemic-EBT webpage.