3.6 million Texas kids who lost free school meals will receive new ‘pandemic’ food benefit

On May 12, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to access more than $1 billion in food benefits via the federal Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program (P-EBT). P-EBT is designed to replace the value of free and reduced-priced meals children missed when schools were closed due to COVID-19.

“The Pandemic EBT program is vital to feeding hungry Texans and making sure families know that their children are eligible and how to apply for benefits is critical,” said Rachel Cooper, Senior Policy Analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities in Austin. Using P-EBT, all students who ate for free or at a reduced-price at school qualify for $285 in benefits on a card that they can use at the grocery store. 3.6 million Texas students are eligible. This is one of the most important moves our elected officials have taken since this pandemic began.”

Families currently participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will see the benefits on their electronic debit cards later this month. Families not participating in SNAP will need to apply for these special benefits starting in June and will receive more information soon from their local school districts.

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