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Illinois’ Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) SNAP Benefits Program

The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program provides benefits to children who receive free or reduced-price school meals under the National School Lunch Program to help their families buy groceries.

P-EBT is a temporary food benefit program operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. P-EBT only provides benefits for days that students are remote learning, but without being offered a meal at school, or home for an approved COVID-related absence.

For each day that K-12 schoolchildren lack access to an in-school lunch, P-EBT provides eligible families with $6.82 in benefits per student, per day. These benefits are provided on a card that can be used like a debit card to purchase food at any grocery store that accepts LINK cards.

Beginning in March 2021, the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) in collaboration with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) will issue P-EBT benefits to families with eligible children for the 2020-21 school year. Families receiving regular SNAP and non-SNAP households can qualify for P-EBT benefits.

See the Frequently Asked Questions on P-EBT for more details. The Greater Chicago Food Depository also has helpful information on P-EBT on its website at

Please contact IDHS with questions at (800) 843-6154. (Note that the Division of Specialized Care for Children does not operate this program.)