Extra Pandemic EBT Assistance Benefits (“Pandemic EBT Assistance Benefits” or “P-EBT Assistance Benefits”) are a form of supplemental food assistance provided to families with children who attend school or childcare of some kind. The assistance, which was authorized by the CARES Act and implemented under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), seeks to remedy the disruption of school and childcare meals that many families faced during the pandemic. The assistance provides families with additional food benefits, whether through a cash payment or an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. The assistance is meant to bridge the gap caused by disrupted childcare and school meals, helping to ensure that all families have the food they need to get through the pandemic, regardless of the loss of school and childcare meals.
Overview of Pandemic EBT Assistance Benefits
The Pandemic EBT Assistance Benefits are designed to replace the meals that students and their families would have received, had it not been for the pandemic. States are responsible for ensuring that eligible households receive the assistance in the form of either a cash payment or an EBT card. The assistance is typically provided one time per month, with the amount changing depending on the school and childcare situation in each state. For example, guidance from the United States Department of Education states that for schools operating virtual or hybrid learning, the assistance amount should “generally match the amount of school meals for all breakfast and lunch meals that the student or child would have consumed if the school was open for in-person instruction.”
The benefits are also available to households with children in childcare. The assistance amount should “generally match what the household would pay for childcare in that area if it were available.” The assistance is available to households with children between the ages of 1 and 13.
Eligibility and Application
States are responsible for setting eligibility requirements, though guidance from the Department of Agriculture states that eligibility is generally limited to households that are eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or the Special Supplement Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). In some cases, states may extend eligibility to households that are not eligible for any of these programs.
The process of applying for P-EBT Assistance Benefits varies from state to state. Some states may require households to apply online, while others will require paper applications.
It is important to note that in some states, existing SNAP and TANF beneficiaries will automatically be enrolled in the Assistance Benefits program, and will not have to submit a new application.
The amount of the benefits varies from state to state. For example, California provides $365 per eligible student. Other states provide $272 for each student enrolled in virtual learning, and $303 for each student enrolled in hybrid learning.
Administration and Oversight of Pandemic EBT Assistance Benefits
States are responsible for the administration and oversight of the Pandemic EBT Assistance Benefits. The Department of Agriculture has provided some guidance on the administration of the program, including areas such as implementing quality control measures and ensuring compliance with program regulations. Additionally, states must ensure that the benefits are provided to eligible households in a timely manner.
It is important to note that the benefits are not meant to supplant existing food assistance programs like SNAP, WIC, and TANF. Instead, they are meant to be supplemental, providing additional assistance to families with children who would have received meals but for the pandemic.
How do I apply for Extra Pandemic EBT Assistance Benefits?
In order to apply for EPEBT, you must go through your state’s SNAP office. Each state has its own SNAP office or website, so it is important to contact your state’s SNAP office or check its website for information about how to apply for EPEBT benefits. Generally speaking, the application process involves filling out an application and providing documentation such as income and other financial information.
Once you submit your application and supporting documents, your state’s SNAP office will review your application and determine whether or not you are eligible for extra pandemic EBT assistance benefits. If you are approved, the extra food benefits will be provided on the same EBT card used for your regular SNAP benefits.
What Should I do with the Extra Pandemic EBT Assistance Benefits?
Once you receive your extra pandemic EBT assistance benefits, you should use them to purchase food items at authorized grocery stores and retail stores. It’s important to remember that the extra food benefits cannot be used to purchase non-food items such as clothing, household items, or toiletries.
In addition, it’s important to note that the extra pandemic EBT assistance benefits will expire if they are not used within a 180-day period. Therefore, it’s important to use the extra benefits as soon as possible and not wait until the deadline is approaching.
The Pandemic EBT Assistance Benefits are an important part of providing additional food assistance to families with children who would have received meals at school or childcare but for the pandemic. The assistance is currently available in all states, and should be taken advantage of by any eligible household. It is important to note that the assistance is designed to supplement existing food assistance programs, not supplant them. In this way, the P-EBT Assistance Benefits can help bridge the gap caused by school and childcare disruptions, and provide families with the food they need to get through the pandemic.