Dept. of Health Services: Families with children who did not receive free or reduced price meals at school due to COVID-19 to receive food benefits

Wisconsin has received U.S. Department of Agriculture approval to offer the School Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) Program for the 2021-2022 school year. This program provides vital food benefits to families when their children are not able to get free or reduced price meals at school through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or School Breakfast Program (SBP).

“School P-EBT has provided critical support for families in need over the last two years. Although schools across Wisconsin are back in session, the pandemic still impacts students who are learning from home or who have to be absent because of COVID-19,” said Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake. “When those situations arise, these benefits will continue to provide much-needed economic and nutritional support to families that need help.”

In past years, the amount of benefits sent to families by the School P-EBT Program depended on information provided by their children’s schools about how each grade level was learning during the pandemic (at home, in person, etc.). Federal program changes this year require benefits to be provided for days that each individual student either learns from home or is absent due to a COVID-19-related reason.

Schools will again be a critical partner in providing information so the state can issue benefits. Starting in January, NSLP/SBP-participating schools will enter individual student data through an online portal. Benefits will be sent out approximately every five weeks on the following schedule:

Benefit MonthsBenefits Issued
August, September, October 2021Early March 2022
November, December 2021Early April 2022
January, February 2022Mid-May 2022
March, April 2022Mid-June 2022
May, June 2022Late July 2022

Families will receive $7.10 for each eligible day for each eligible child. They will receive a letter in the mail telling them how much they will be getting for each month. If families have an active QUEST (FoodShare) card or a P-EBT card from last year, the benefits will be provided on their existing card. Otherwise, families will receive a dedicated P-EBT card in the mail. This ATM-like card can be used in stores to purchase the same items allowed under FoodShare.

The P-EBT Program will continue to operate through a joint partnership between the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), the Department of Children and Families (DCF), and the Department of Public Instruction (DPI).

Learn more about this year’s program on the DHS P-EBT webpage.