Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) Program

Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) benefits are federally approved food benefits issued for a specific period of time for specific groups of children in Iowa. The USDA must approve each state’s plan to issue benefits to each eligible group of children. Iowa has not been approved to issue School Year 22-23 P-EBT benefits for:

  • School-aged children
  • Children under the age 6

Information will be released if plans are approved and benefits will be issued.

P-EBT Card Information for Iowans

How Do I Activate the Child's P-EBT Card?

Activate each card by following these instructions:

  1. Call 1-800-359-5802
  2. Enter the 19-digit number on the front of the card
  3. Enter the date of birth of the child listed on the card
  4. Enter 6-6-6-6 for the child's social security number (SSN)
    • Note: DO NOT use your child’s actual SSN
  5. Set a 4-digit personal identification number (PIN).
    • DO NOT write the PIN on the card.

Once activated, your child’s benefit amount will be available to use at any store that accepts EBT benefits.

How Do I Replace the Child's P-EBT Card or Get a New Card?

If your P-EBT card has been lost or stolen (or you can’t activate it) call EBT Card Customer Service at 1-800-359-5802. The phone is answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Any remaining benefits you have on the card will be put on a replacement P-EBT card and mailed to you. If you have moved or changed your address since receiving your P-EBT card—or if you need to make a change to the child’s name or date of birth—call 1-877-347-5678 and enter 1 to select "Report a Change."

How Do I Activate My P-EBT Card or Get Help Setting My PIN?

Call the number on the back of the P-EBT card (1-800-359-5802) to talk with Customer Service. The phone is answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

P-EBT Benefit Usage Information

What Can I Buy With the Child's P-EBT Benefits?

You can use the P-EBT benefits on your EBT card to purchase eligible food items anywhere SNAP EBT cards are accepted. Eligible food items include:

  • Dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Meat
  • Cereal
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Bread
  • Fresh, frozen, canned or dried vegetables and fruit
  • Any ingredients you use for cooking
  • Baby formula
  • Diabetic foods
  • Garden seeds and plants for growing food at home
  • Ice

NOTE: You cannot buy already prepared or hot food, pet food, or non-food items. For more information about what you can buy, visit What Can SNAP Buy?

Where Can I Use the Child's P-EBT Benefits?

You can use the card anywhere SNAP benefits are accepted. All major grocery chains, convenience stores, and big box stores accept EBT cards.

Using Your P-EBT Card at Farmers' Markets and Roadside Stands

EBT cards will also be accepted at farmers' markets and local roadside and farm stands. For more information, visit Iowa’s Farmers Market Project.

Online Shopping with SNAP

SNAP recipients will be able to use their benefits to purchase eligible food items but will not be able to use benefits to pay for service or delivery charges. For more information, visit SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot.

Stores that Offer EBT Card-Users Online Grocery Purchasing

ALDI, Amazon, Jewel Osco, New Pioneer Food Co-op, Ramsey’s Market, Sam’s Club, Walmart, and Whole Foods offer online options for Iowans using their SNAP EBT card to purchase food. For more information, visit Online Options.

How Do I Use My Child's P-EBT Card at the Store?

When you use the P-EBT card at the store, choose the P-EBT option on the point-of-sale machine at the checkout and enter your 4-digit PIN. Anyone in your household can use your child's P-EBT card, even if their name is not on the front of the P-EBT card.

Do I Need to Spend All of the P-EBT Benefits at Once?

No. The benefits will carry over from month-to-month. However, read How long do I have to use these benefits, for more information about benefit expiration. 

How Much Time Do I Have to Use the Child's P-EBT Benefits?

Benefits will expire nine months after the last time benefits were issued to, or spent from, the P-EBT card. NOTE: Benefits that are removed from the card cannot be replaced.