HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Pa. Department of Human Services announced Tuesday the launch of an assistance hotline for families with the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) program.
Residents who haven’t received their child’s benefits or are having issues can call (484) 363-2137 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
“The P-EBT program has been a lifeline to Pennsylvania families with children affected by school closure throughout the pandemic, and I understand that delays in receiving this benefit have created challenges,” Acting DHS Secretary Meg Snead said. “We are quickly working to reissue lost or missing cards, and we hope this hotline will help parents resolve card issues with greater ease.”
Due to many childcare and school settings being shuttered due to COVID-19, the P-EBT program helps families in need cover breakfast and lunch costs their children would’ve received through the National School Lunch Program.
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Families are able to use these benefits to buy any food item in a typical grocery store, similar to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Over a million children in the state are eligible for P-EBT and over 700,000 have been activated. About 30,000 requests have been made to reissue lost cards or ones that never arrived for families.
DHS is also working to hire and train more staff to handle the high volume and lower wait times and reissue 35,000 cards in areas that reported issues in high volumes.
P-EBT cards are also being reissued to all eligible Midstate children in Hanover Public, Harrisburg City, Steelton Highspire and Susquehanna Township school districts.
DHS is drafting a plan with Pa. Department of Education for the next school year and hopes to have information available soon