Days after ending a $300 weekly unemployment supplement from the federal government for out-of-work Texans, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) says the state has asked the federal government to provide an additional $2.5 billion in food benefits through the federal Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program.
The program provides a benefit of up to $1,200 per child for the school year. The amount each family will receive is based on the school the child attends and is determined by the number of days that most students at the school received remote instruction during the 2020-2021 school year. The benefit is to be used for groceries in the same way SNAP benefits are used.
“Thank you to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for approving this second round of pandemic food benefits for Texas families,” Abbott said in a statement. “These additional benefits will continue to help Texans provide food for their families. I thank our state partners at HHSC, TEA, and TDA for working together to secure these benefits and administering them quickly to families across the state.”
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In this second round of P-EBT, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission received federal approval to provide more than $2.5 billion in benefits to approximately 3.7 million eligible children in Texas. The first round of P-EBT was distributed last summer and provided more than $1 billion in food benefits to more than 3 million children, the governor's office said in a statement.
P-EBT is for families with children who are certified for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program and families with children born after Aug. 1, 2014, who receive SNAP food benefits. Most families who receive SNAP benefits do not need to apply and will automatically receive P-EBT benefits on their Lone Star Card by May 28.
Families who received SNAP benefits for the first time during the 2020-2021 school year in May or June 2021 and have children born on or before Aug. 1, 2014, need to apply. Families who have children certified for free or reduced-price meals, or attended a school defined as a Community Eligibility Provision or Provision II school and received meals at no cost, during the 2020-2021 school year but did not receive SNAP benefits will need to apply.
Families that need to apply will receive a notification from their school district by June 2 which will include eligibility information and how to access the application.
To ensure timely and accurate issuance of benefits, a Social Security number or School Identification Number must be submitted for each child in public school on the application. The application will be open from June 2 to Aug. 13, and applications will be processed in the order they are received.
After completing the application, families eligible for a benefit amount will receive benefits on a new P-EBT Card in the mail, the governor's office said.
P-EBT will be administered through a coordinated effort by the HHSC, the Texas Department of Agriculture, and the Texas Education Agency.