What Is The Difference Between P EBT Benefits And Extra Food Stamps?

p EBT vs extra food stamps

P EBT vs. Extra Food Stamps: What Is The Difference Between These Pandemic Food Assistance Programs

In this community resource, you will learn what is the difference between P EBT vs extra food stamps.

Both of these programs were created during the pandemic; however, that is where the similarities between these food assistance programs stop. Both programs provide food assistance to low-income families to help them with the cost of food.

Continue reading to learn more about these pandemic food stamp programs and which one you and your family could qualify for.

What Are P EBT Benefits?

P EBT benefits, also known as pandemic EBT, provide food assistance to low-income families with children in school. These programs specifically help households with children who receive either free lunch or are enrolled in the reduced-price lunch meal program at school.

What Are Extra Food Stamps?

Extra food stamps, also known as emergency allotment or snap benefits, are added to the normal food stamp amounts that you receive. What this means is that you will receive extra food stamp benefits in addition to the regular food stamps you get each month.

what are food stamps?

P EBT vs Extra Food Stamp Program (What Is The Difference?)

Here are the key differences between P EBT benefits in the extra food stamp program.

Payment Frequency

With PEBT the most that you will receive this benefit in a year is three times. You can potentially receive a P EBT benefit payment for the fall semester, the spring semester, and the summer semester. These payments are meant to reimburse parents for the free lunch meal that their children may have missed due to school being closed due to COVID-19.

Extra food stamps are paid on a monthly basis. These benefits are paid as often as your regular SNAP benefits are paid. As long as there is a federal public health emergency, eligible food stamp recipients will continue receiving extra food stamp benefits each month.


To receive P EBT benefits, you will need to have a child enrolled in the school’s free lunch program. The child would have had to have missed school due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This can be due to the school closing, or the child being exposed to Covid and having to quarantine for a specific period of time. As long as you can show that your child missed school due to the COVID-19 pandemic and did not get their free lunch, your child could be eligible for P EBT benefits.

p ebt benefits
P EBT benefits are for low-income households where the child missed school and did not receive their free lunch due to a COVID 19-related absence

Eligibility for extra food stamps means you receive regular food stamps. If you applied for food stamps and were deemed eligible, you will receive the extra food stamp benefits each month as long as there is a public health emergency declaration.

How To Apply For Each Pandemic Food Assistance Program

There is no website where you can apply for PEBT benefits. In order to qualify for P EBT benefits, your child will need to meet the requirements for either the free lunch program or the reduced meal price program. In order to enroll in these free lunch programs, you will need to contact your school district.

Your school district provides a list of children at their schools who receive free or reduced-price meals to your local human services department in your state. This is how the state human services departments make a list of eligible households that will receive PEBT benefits.

So to reiterate, in order to be eligible for P EBT benefits, you need to apply for free or reduced-price lunch programs at your child’s school. You can contact your school or the school district they attend to learn more about the free meal program and how you can qualify for P EBT benefits.

In order to receive extra food stamp benefits, you will need to apply for food stamps through your state’s human services department. This means you will need to contact the department by phone, visit a food stamp office, or apply online.

As long as you qualify for regular food stamps in your state, you will likely receive the emergency allotment each month during the federal public health emergency.

StateEBT Customer Service Number NumberPhone Number To Apply For Food StampsState Food Stamp Websites
Washington DC888-304-9167202-724-5506Website
New Hampshire888-997-9777603-271-9700Website
New Jersey800-997-3333800-687-9512Website
New Mexico800-843-8303800-283-4465Website
New York888-328-6399800-342-3009MyBenefits New York _Website
North Carolina888-622-7328800-662-7030Website
North Dakota800-630-4655800-755-2716Website
Puerto Rico877-467-4832787-289-7600WebWebsitesite
Rhode Island888-979-9939855-697-4347Website
South Carolina800-554-5268800-616-1309Website
South Dakota800-604-5099877-999-5612Website
Virgin Islands866-884-2868340-774-2399Website
West Virginia866-545-6502800-642-8589Website


Both the PEBT and extra food stamp programs were created during a pandemic to help low-income households afford food. The pandemic caused a number of different barriers that made it difficult for parents to either afford the cost of food or get access to food. These two programs were created to fill the gaps and help families continue to feed their families during the pandemic..

The key differences between P EBT and extra food stamps are the frequency of payment, eligibility criteria, and how you apply for benefits.

P EBT benefits are paid each semester; extra food stamps are paid monthly throughout the pandemic.

To receive P EBT benefits, your child needs to be enrolled in a free lunch program. Extra food stamps only require that you qualify for snap benefits.

Lastly, to apply for PEBT benefits, you’ll need to contact your school district. Whereas with the emergency allotment for food stamps, you’ll need to apply for regular state SNAP benefits through your human services department.

If you have more questions about either P EBT or extra food stamps you can contact the human services department in your state for additional information.

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