DHS launches EBT pandemic assistance hotline

Regional News

HARRISBURG — If you have had an issue with your child’s Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) benefits, now there is a number you can call.

On Tuesday, the Department of Human Services announced the launch of a live hotline to assist families with the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) program.

Pennsylvanians who have not received their child’s P-EBT benefits or have any other issue with the program can dial (484) 363-2137, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 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,” said Acting DHS Secretary Meg Snead. “We are quickly working to reissue lost or missing cards, and we hope this hotline will help parents resolve card issues with greater ease.”

Staff are monitoring the phone line and webform, responding to inquiries as soon as possible, and mailing replacement cards when they are requested. While parents may experience long wait times on the hotline initially, DHS is continuing to hire and train additional staff to help families resolve outstanding inquiries as quickly as possible.

P-EBT is designed to help eligible families cover the cost of free or reduced-price breakfasts and lunches their children would have been eligible to receive in child care or schools that closed temporarily or permanently due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Families can use their P-EBT benefits to purchase almost any food item in a typical grocery store, and the program follows the same rules as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

More than one million children in Pennsylvania are eligible for P-EBT, and more than 757,000 cards have now been activated by families using this benefit. DHS has received approximately 30,000 requests to reissue lost cards or cards that were never delivered.

DHS is also working to reissue about 35,000 P-EBT cards in specific areas that have indicated significant instances of P-EBT cards that were not received or not activated. These cards should be received by eligible households by early November. P-EBT cards are being reissued to all eligible children in Luzerne County, as well as other areas listed below:

  • Allentown City SD
  • Athens Area SD
  • Berwick Area SD
  • Connellsville Area SD
  • Erie City SD
  • Hanover Public SD
  • Harrisburg City SD
  • Hazleton Area SD
  • Iroquois Area SD
  • McKeesport Area SD
  • Mount Carmel SD
  • New Kensington-Arnold SD
  • Portage Area SD
  • Scranton SD
  • Steelton Highspire SD
  • Susquehanna Township SD
  • Titusville Area SD
  • Wilkes-Barre Area Career & Technical Center
  • Wilkes-Barre Area SD
  • Wyoming Area SD
  • Wyoming Valley West SD

Families in these districts who have received and activated their cards can continue to use them. Parents who have a standard EBT card — used for other benefits such as SNAP and Cash Assistance — whose children are eligible for P-EBT will have their P-EBT benefits loaded to their EBT card, if possible. Those who have not received their P-EBT card by November should contact the P-EBT Hotline at 484-363-2137 to report an issue. 

DHS is currently working with Pennsylvania’s Department of Education to draft a plan for the 2021-2022 school year in line with guidance from the federal government, and more information will be available soon.

More information about P-EBT and the call center can be found here.

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