A third round of federal pandemic-related food benefits worth $1.4 billion will soon be sent to Texas families with children who have temporarily lost access to free or reduced-price school meals due to COVID-19.
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission announced Tuesday they received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to extend the federal Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) food benefits program through the summer.
Summer P-EBT, covering June through August, provides a one-time benefit of $375 per eligible child to roughly 3.7 million Texas families and can be used in the same way as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food benefits to pay for groceries.
“As children across the state start going back to school, we’re thankful we can provide this added benefit so Texans can provide nutritious food for their families,” said Wayne Salter, HHS Deputy Executive Commissioner of Access and Eligibility Services.
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Details on the eligibility from the state are below.
Children in grades K through 12 who were eligible for P-EBT benefits during the 2020-21 school year are eligible for summer P-EBT benefits as long as they were still enrolled in school during the last month of the school year. This includes children who did not get a 2020-21 school year P-EBT benefit based on the virtual attendance percentage provided by their schools.
Families who previously received the 2020-21 school year P-EBT benefits will automatically receive the summer P-EBT benefits and do not need to take any action. Children born after Aug. 1, 2014 who received SNAP food benefits at any time between June 2021 and August 2021 will automatically receive summer P-EBT benefits on their Lone Star Card. No action is required by these families.
Families that did not apply for 2020-2021 school year P-EBT can still apply by Sept. 13. If eligible for the school year P-EBT benefit, their children will automatically receive summer P-EBT as well.
Some children who were not eligible for 2020-21 school year P-EBT benefits, but attended a Texas school during the last month of the school year, may still be eligible for summer P-EBT. Schools and districts are sharing additional information with families about NSLP eligibility, including a reminder to complete the household application for free and reduced-price meals (NSLP form) by Aug. 28, 2021. Schools will provide the child’s information to HHSC to issue summer P-EBT benefits.
Eligible families will receive summer P-EBT benefits in the fall. Visit hhs.texas.gov/pebt or call the P-EBT Call Center at 833-442-1255 to learn more.
To date, HHSC has distributed approximately $4.7 billion in P-EBT food benefits to Texas families. The administration of summer P-EBT is a joint effort by HHSC, the Texas Department of Agriculture and the Texas Education Agency.