HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Thousands of Pennsylvanians are still waiting on their Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer or P-EBT cards.
Families rely on the cards to cover the cost of meals missed while their children are out of school during the pandemic. The children are eligible to receive breakfast and lunch at school for free or at reduced price through the National School Lunch Program.
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In a previous abc27 story, the Department of Human Services (DHS) said people who didn’t receive their P-EBT cards by July 15 should call the DHS helpline or fill out a webform.
However, viewers have contacted abc27 saying they never received a follow-up from DHS after calling or filling out the online form.
According to a DHS spokesperson, “Staff are monitoring the phone line and webform and are responding to inquiries as soon as possible, but there is a significant backlog due to repeat inquiries. Duplicate cards are being mailed when they are requested, however, we have seen significant delays in delivery and even instances of cards being returned by the post office.”
In an effort to reduce the delay DHS is launching a live hotline so callers can talk to a person. Currently, residents can call a helpline at 484-363-2137 and leave a message. DHS says that same number will be used for the live hotline, which is expected to launch next week.
According to the DHS website, there may be some disruptions while the transition is made. If you call 484-363-2137 and receive a number not in service message, you should wait and try again later.
DHS says there are around 20,000 to 35,000 cards that need to be reissued and they are working as quickly as possible to get them out to families. It said 757,414 cards have already been activated and its” activation rate is in line with last year’s issuance and other states.