New USDA benefit to help provide food to families with children that have temporarily lost access to free or reduced-price school meals

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Because of school closures from COVID-19, Texas received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide more than $1 billion in pandemic food benefits to families with children that have temporarily lost access to free or reduced-price school meals.

Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) provides eligible families with a one-time payment for each child who previously received free or reduced-price meals. P-EBT works the same way Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits do and will help families get the food they need during the current pandemic. P-EBT will be administered by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, Texas Department of Agriculture and Texas Education Agency.

Here are some key points about this program:

  • Families will receive a one-time benefit of approximately $285 per eligible child.
  • Families currently participating in SNAP with kids ages 5-18 will have the benefits added to their Lonestar cards by May 22nd.
    No application is needed.
  • Families on SNAP with kids under age 5 or ages 19-21, and families that are not on SNAP will receive a letter from their school district by May 31 with instructions to enroll in P-EBT via a simple, online application. After enrolling online, families will receive an EBT card with those benefits as soon as their applications are processed.
  • Getting this one-time benefit will not affect a family’s eligibility for other benefits.
  • P-EBT is available to families regardless of immigration status. Getting this one-time benefit will not keep a family member from getting a green card.

P-EBT will help essential workers and their families- like Melynda’s.

“I have two school-aged children. I was only able to get the curb-side lunches for my kids two days total because I work at Walgreens and I work almost non-stop during this pandemic,” Melynda said. “I just checked and got my P-EBT today. Very excited about them giving us the max amount plus this “bonus”. I feel like for once, my pantry and freezer will be full. I normally get $400/ month on SNAP. I ration that out and go shopping once a week. If I try to go for the whole month, with teenage boys in the house, they see food, they eat it. But for once, they can have snacks and such.”

To apply for P-EBT, click here.

**The Deadline for applications has been extended until August 21st.**.

For more information and frequently asked questions about P-EBT, click here.