The families of nearly one million Pennsylvania children who have attended school remotely due to the pandemic will benefit from this food assistance program known as the Pennsylvania Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT).
The program aims to help families cover the cost of meals that their children could have received for free or at a reduced price through the National School Meals Program during the 2020-21 school year.
As it was stated by the Pennsylvania Government website, this benefit is possible thanks to the Wolf administration´s approval from the Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) which issued more than $1 billion in federally-funded benefits.
The families of eligible children for the assistance food program will receive benefits equal to the daily reimbursement rate for school breakfast and lunches through the National School Lunch Program: $2.26 for breakfast, $0.96 for a snack and $3.60 for lunch. P-EBT benefits are equal to $6.82 per day that the child is eligible for P-EBT.
The benefits to the families of eligible children will be effective only for the days that a child could not access school meals because of the emergency caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Based on a 180-day school calendar, a child who attended school virtually each day would be eligible for $1,227.60 in total P-EBT benefits.
Food assistance in three phases
These are the three phases in which the assistance food benefits will be distributed to the elegible families:
First round: The benefits will be distributed in late April or early May to the families of children eligible for P-EBT during the period of September 1, 2020, through November 30, 2020.
Second round: The distribution will be effective in early June to the families of children eligible during the period of December 1, 2020, to February 28, 2021.
The third round of benefits will be distributed in mid-July to the families of children eligible during the period of March 1, 2021, through May 31, 2021.
Eligibility for P-EBT is determined by eligibility for the National School Lunch Program, so there is no need for families to apply separately for P-EBT. Pennsylvania families can apply for the National School Lunch Program at www.compass.state.pa.us or through their local school district.