275 Prospect Street, PO Box 67, Norwood, MA 02062
781.762.6804 Phone | 781.762.0229 Fax

Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) Benefits

The USDA approved Massachusetts' P-EBT plan for the 2021-2022 school year in March 2022. Please click here for the Massachusetts P-EBT site. The MA P-EBT website can be translated by clicking on the language in the lower right corner of your screen.

To qualify for P-EBT benefits students must:

  • Be eligible for Free or Reduced lunch - either by Direct Certification (i.e. SNAP, Medicaid, etc.), or by completing the Free & Reduced Lunch Application
    • NOTE: All students are receiving free school nutrition for the 2021-2022 school year, but if you don't qualify using either method above, you will not qualify for P-EBT benefits.
    • If you are eligible for Free or Reduced lunch, and you have not completed a Free & Reduced Lunch application, please complete it now so that you can receive these benefits.
  • Had COVID-related excused absences during the school year

P-EBT 2021-2022 School Year Information from Department of Transiational Assistance (DTA)


COVID-Related Absences as defined by DESE

“COVID-related absences” in accordance with Protocols A – C of the state’s COVID absence policy. These are excused absences that fall under one of the following categories:

  • Absences due to positive COVID test
  • Absences due to asymptomatic close contact or quarantine
  • Absences due to student being symptomatic in accordance with Protocol C of the state’s COVID absence policy (any symptoms that would keep student home from school, COVID positive or not)
  • Days that a student participated in remote learning (either due to temporary school closure or due to remote learning during quarantine) also count as P-EBT eligible days

Ineligible absences include but are not limited to:

  • vacations/travel
  • bereavement 
  • family emergency
  • broken bones 
  • chronic illness treatment
  • surgery
  • mental health treatment

Example 1: A child stayed home for four days because they had a fever and were required to obtain a negative test result to return to school. This absence is in accordance with Protocol C of the state’s COVID absence policy. This child did not have COVID-19. The entire time the child was out of school while symptomatic and while waiting for test results is eligible for P-EBT.
Example 2: A child had a reaction to the vaccine and was kept home sick. These absences are eligible for P-EBT. 
Example 3: A child missed school to attend a funeral of a family member who passed away due to COVID. This absence is not considered eligible for P-EBT. 


Distribution of P-EBT Benefits

  • Norwood Public Schools submits to DESE a total count of the student's COVID-related absences per month.
    • Please note that NPS is only responsible for submitting data.
    • We do not have any responsibility for cards, lost cards, replacement cards, benefit amounts, distribution dates, etc.
    • Please reference the Massachusetts P-EBT site for more information. The MA P-EBT website can be translated by clicking on the language in the lower right corner of your screen.
  • Families will receive their P-EBT benefits on the same card they received P-EBT in the past.
  • Families who are new to P-EBT will receive a new card in the mail
  • DTA will include a summary of the benefit received, and a form for reconsideration if needed.
  • Benefits are distributed on the 25th of the month for the previous month.
    • NPS has to submit the data to DESE by the 10th of the month to meet this distribution deadline.
    • For the first distribution on May 25, families will receive benefits for September, October, November, December, Janauary, February, March, and April
    • May benefits will be distributed on June 25
    • June benefits will be distributed on July 25

Benefit Amounts

# of COVID-Related Absences Per Month P-EBT Benefit Amount
1-5 Absences $21
6-15 Absences $71
16+ Absences $128

Reconsideration Process

If you feel that the P-EBT benefits you received for a specific month are incorrect, the reconsideration process is as follows:

  • Complete the SY 2021-2022 P-EBT Review form from DTA that was included in your benefit information.
  • Only make requests if the change will bring you to a higher benefit level, for example: 
    • If you are changing from 3 days to 5 days your benefit amount will remain the same. You do not need to send in a form.
    • If you are changing from 3 days to 7 days you will be eligible for an additional $50.
  • Bring the completed form to your school.
    • If you don't feel comfortable sharing your families' free or reduced lunch status with the school front office, you can bring the form to the Food Services Office in the Savage Educational Center.
  • The front office will check the number of absences on your form with the number of absences that are in the student information system (Aspen).
  • If they match, the school will sign off, and the updated absence count for that month will be sent to DESE. 
  • Based on the reporting cycle, you will either receive the balance of the P-EBT benefit in the next monthly distribution (if we are able to submit before the 10th); or if the deadline has passed, it will be in the cycle after that.

Request for Review Forms

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