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Child pandemic food assistance cards being distributed in Iowa

The Iowa Department of Human Services says the P-EBT cards are being distributed through "multiple rounds" of mailings starting this week.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa Department of Human Services and Department of Education announced Wednesday the distribution plan for food assistance benefits for eligible Iowa school children impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) cards are being distributed through "multiple rounds of mailings" starting this week, so officials are advising parents to check their mail for their cards. 

“We want to make Iowa families aware of the arrival of the P-EBT cards to prevent families from throwing the envelopes away, not realizing what they contain,” said Janee Harvey, DHS Division Administrator of Adult, Child and Family Services. 

Households with kids in Pre-K through 12 who temporarily lost access to Free and Reduced Price School Meals during the 2020-2021 school year due to pandemic-related school schedule changes and closures are eligible for the program, according to DHS.

The new cards will: 

  • Be sent in white envelopes addressed with the child's name with an Austin, Texas return address 
  • Be white with black font and include "IOWA P-EBT" printed at the top
  • Have the name of the eligible child on it 

Each card will initially include benefits for eligible days, as reported by schools, from September through December 2020. DHS advises families to keep this card since they will use the same card to access later benefits.

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Later benefits will be deposited between June 11 to 20 for eligible days in January through March 2021. Benefits for April and May 2021 will be deposited between July 11 through 20, according to DHS.

DHS says 186 school districts and 51 participating nonpublic schools that submitted eligibility information to DOE in April got the first round of mailings this week. 

Parents with questions can call the DOE P-EBT phone line at 515-281-5294 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday with questions about their child's eligibility. 

More information can be found on the DOE's website or in the frequently asked questions document below. 

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