As the school year began for many districts in August and early September, USDA was slow in deciding whether states could re-start P-EBT benefits. “It’s unfortunate that our students will be the ones that suffer.”, A spokesperson for the USDA acknowledged that some states are “finding it difficult to meet the statutory requirements.”. The problem now, state officials say, is that the Agriculture Department has made it too cumbersome to apply for another round of benefits before funding runs out on Sept. 30. Anti-hunger advocates worry the loss of extra payments for food will further exacerbate childhood hunger rates, which are already at the highest levels the country has seen in decades.

USDA did not answer questions from POLITICO about how many other states have submitted plans to issue more Pandemic-EBT aid. “That suggests to me that this was a pretty important infusion of cash,” said Bauer. “They opened the door and then they closed the door — and the result is leaving tens of thousands of kids in Michigan without food.”. Chicago – Building on measures to address challenges facing Illinois working families during the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Pritzker announced increases in SNAP … At first, USDA suggested it was acceptable for states to issue benefits only to students in districts where all instruction was virtual because of the extremely short time frame to determine who qualified. With stimulus talks seemingly dead for now, advocates are asking lawmakers to include an extension of P-EBT in any short term spending package. Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) P-EBT Program Information & Updates. The program, known as Pandemic-EBT or P-EBT, gives households about $5.70 per day for every school day missed. September 2020 P-EBT Benefit Payments; P-EBT benefits for August 2020 and September 2020 have been paid to children who were eligible for P-BET during the last school year (2019-2020) AND this school year (2020-2021). Applications will be available in paper form as well as through the ABE Online Application portal. Learn more about SNAP Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) SNAP Benefits - IDHS 4980. ", How coronavirus will change the world permanently, Coronavirus cases, tracked state by state. With the program now set to expire in less than two weeks, anti-hunger advocates are trying to ramp up pressure on Congress to extend the program through the end of the school year. The USDA’s change in policy means they are not able to issue any Pandemic-EBT benefits to students this month. P-EBT provides financial assistance to families with school aged children. But schools are still widely disrupted. The effect started to wear off by the second week. In Pennsylvania, officials had planned to give out $128 per student to some 330,000 low-income students. If you qualify for SNAP, you will get an Illinois Link card. SNAP helps low income people buy the food they need for good nutritional health.

A student picks up a free individually bagged lunch in the cafeteria during the first day of school at Stamford High School in Stamford, Conn. | John Moore/Getty Images. The program, known as Pandemic-EBT or P-EBT, gives households about $5.70 per day for every school day missed. They authorized the program to go through the end of the government fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. The logistics of reaching all eligible kids — including those in schools doing a mix of in-person and online instruction — are so complicated that several states say they will be unable to get aid to any of qualifying schoolchildren this month. The money is distributed exactly like food stamps — on debit-like EBT cards. “This makes this complicated benefit even more difficult to administer.” The department is continuing to work with states on the issue, the spokesperson said. “We need to make sure the benefits are available for September, but it’s going to be a really long school year for families if their children are learning remotely. “We are very frustrated,” said Robert Gordon, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. P-EBT provides the value of school meals at the free rate for each eligible child in the household, for a total of $5.70 per child per school day. President Donald Trump and Melania Trump have tested positive for Covid-19. If so, you can still apply for Pandemic EBT (P-EBT), which will provide you with financial assistance! Families will receive money on a new or existing EBT card to help fill the school meals gap.

The money is distributed exactly like food stamps — on debit-like EBT cards. The multiple school district setups — all virtual, all in-person or hybrid of the two — has made the program much more complicated than it was when the vast majority of schools were shut down. The deadline to apply for this benefit has been extended to Aug. 31, 2020. Two weeks ahead of the deadline to get the last tranche of the money out, only nine states have been approved: Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia. “It’s just hard to understand why the federal government is doing what it’s doing,” said Teresa Miller, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. Once school districts have the lists of eligible students, that information has to be transferred over to the state agencies that administer the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, still known to many as food stamps. But now, as some schools re-open with a mix of virtual and in-person classes, the Agriculture Department says states must also tackle the complex job of figuring out how many days each student is not physically in school and distribute the aid to all who are spending all or part of their weeks learning virtually.
Millions of low-income children are likely to miss out on special benefits that help their families buy groceries this month because the Trump administration has imposed eligibility requirements that prevent some states from getting the payments out before the money expires. Each month, the amount of your SNAP benefits will be added to your Link Card account, and you can use it like a debit card to pay for food at most grocery stores. Those agencies then determine which students at different schools are in the same households. The deadline to apply for P-EBT has recently been extended to August 31st. If you apply for May, you will receive benefits for 21 school days in May, or $119.70.
“It’s too late to comply with their new directive,” Gordon said. At hybrid schools — where students are doing some combination of virtual and in-person instruction — it’s extremely complicated to get data on each individual student’s schedule as the school year started: Should one student receive P-EBT benefits to replace three days of missed meals, or two? In the unfolding pandemic, economic crisis and reckoning on race, governors and mayors are shaping our shared future. “Congress needs to act,” said Crystal FitzSimons, director of school and out of school programs at the Food Research & Action Center. About a week later, however, officials at USDA changed their mind and said that this simpler option was not going to be allowed. Another student may be learning remotely all five days. When Congress created Pandemic-EBT in the first major coronavirus stimulus package in March, lawmakers did not foresee how long the current crisis would last. Then, they check to see if the families are already on SNAP.

The aid can only be used to buy food. Many school districts also don’t know how many students qualify for free and reduced lunch until a few weeks into the school year after families fill out necessary paperwork. In July, Bauer and a team of researchers found that P-EBT benefits significantly reduced the number of children struggling to get access to enough food. The decision means that Michigan won’t be able to distribute aid at all in September, state officials said.