An Extra $391 For You

An Extra $391 For You

Miles Maloney, Staff Writer

You probably have hundreds of dollars that you don’t even know about. Some of you received a food-benefit debit card in the mail last month and you shouldn’t throw it away.


Students who are enrolled in Chicago Public Schools were supposed to receive Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) cards with about a $400 balance on them during the summer of this year. However, many of these students are just getting their cards in the mail now. The cards were “issued over course of 6 weeks beginning early October through mid-November 2022” (Greater Chicago Food Depository). These are the same cards that everybody received during the pandemic. If you still had a balance on your card, the state just reloaded the card that you got a couple years ago. If your card had no balance, then the state sent you a new card in the mail.


The Illinois Department of Human Services gave students the P-EBT benefits with a total of $391 on them. With these cards, you can purchase the same items that you can with SNAP benefits. This includes fresh, canned, and frozen foods. However, you aren’t able to buy hot prepared meals or any non-food items with these cards (Illinois Department of Human Services). 


The reason behind the late arrival of these benefits is still unknown. CPS issued a statement saying: “The P-EBT cards are issued by the State of Illinois, not Chicago Public Schools (CPS). We work collaboratively with our State partners to share updates and are always eager to pass on news of additional benefits to our families” (CBS News). More than a million kids in Illinois should have received the cards. Other states are also participating in the P-EBT card program. 


So make sure that you look for your P-EBT card and check the balance on it. All CPS students should have an additional $391 available to them.

This is an example of a new P-EBT card. It will have your name and a unique 16 digit number on it.