An Update On The $420 Per Public School Student Food Benefit – Just Over 50% Have Received It

An Update On The $420 Per Public School Student Food Benefit – Just Over 50% Have Received It
Photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office.

BROOKLYN – Three months ago, it was announced that through a federal relief effort, the state was approved to disperse the Coronavirus Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer or P-EBT. The program would automatically send families the equivalent of about $5.70 per day, or a total of $420, to make up for meals that each student would have been eligible for while in school. It’s now the end of August and many families still have not received their money.

“I’ve been checking my mail every day and have not received anything. At first, I thought maybe it got lost in the mail, but I asked my friends and they said they haven’t gotten anything either,” a parent told us. “Are we even going to get the money or is it just lip service from the government?”

The $420 per eligible student is being distributed out by the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA). When we asked them back in June about the status of the money, we were told they would be distributed by July and August. But it’s almost September and many Brooklynites feel left in the dark.

Yesterday, we were told by OTDA that the state has been distributing the cards out daily, but they have distributed to just more than half of the 2.1 million eligible children so far. They expect the remaining families to get the cards over the next month or so.

Those who are current recipients of SNAP and Temporary Assistance are supposed to be receiving them first on their existing Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards. Then, it will be distributed to Medicaid recipients on their Common Benefit Identification Card. Between July and August, P-EBT cards will be mailed to those children who are enrolled in free or reduced-price school lunches but are in households that do not receive SNAP, Temporary Assistance, or Medicaid.

  • If your family already receives SNAP and/ or TA benefits, the P-EBT food benefits for each eligible child will be issued directly to the household’s existing EBT card. P-EBT foods benefits will be added to your SNAP balance. You can check your family’s SNAP/P-EBT food benefits balance by visiting or by calling 1-888-328-6399.
  • If your family does not receive SNAP or TA benefits but does receive Medicaid, the P-EBT food benefits may be issued to your Medicaid Common Benefit Identification Card (CBIC) or to the CBIC of the oldest child in your household who has been certified for free or reduced-price school lunches. You will receive more information about this in the mail. The notice will tell you how to set up a PIN for the card so that you can use the P-EBT food benefits. To report damaged, lost, or stolen EBT cards, and to request a replacement card, please call 1-888-328-6399.
  • If your family does not receive SNAP or TA benefits and if you do not already have an active EBT Card, one will be mailed to you so you may access your child/children’s P-EBT food benefits. A card will be issued and mailed in each school-aged child’s name, not a parent’s or guardian’s name.


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