P-EBT: Pandemic Food Support

The pandemic has affected people in unexpected ways. As a result, many people may experience financial hardships. Financial difficulties can cause families to make hard choices, such as deciding between paying rent or providing a healthy diet for their children. As a result, the government intended to provide individuals with more support. One method they used to do this was by offering more aid to eligible people and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients.

What is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)?

First, you should have a thorough knowledge of SNAP before learning how the government can offer additional assistance to eligible families. If you want to move directly to the additional advantages, they are just below. 

In short, SNAP is a supportive program that can help families with the costs of groceries. They do this by giving beneficiaries an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. This card will be credited with funds each month to cover the purchase of groceries. The EBT card may only be used at places that accept it as payment, and the amount of money available varies depending on the individual.

How to Apply for SNAP?

You should first get in touch with your state agency if you wish to submit an application. They will be able to explain to you whether you qualify for this program. There is no need to hesitate to apply as it is free to do so. It is crucial to remember that not everyone qualifies for assistance. Most college students, certain legal immigrants, and people who are on strike often are not eligible for this assistance opportunity.

What Can SNAP Purchase?

When someone refers to “groceries” it does not mean everything that you could buy at a store that accepts EBT. Instead, only qualifying objects such as:

  • Bread and cereal
  • Dairy products
  • Fish, meat, and poultry
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
  • Snack foods
  • Plants and/or seeds that produce food for the family to eat
  • Other food items similar to the ones listed above

Foods such as the following would not be eligible to be purchased using SNAP funds:

  • Medicines and vitamins
  • Non-food items
  • Supplements
  • Tobacco products like cigarettes
  • Alcoholic beverages like beer, wine, liquor
  • Live animals (except shellfish, fish removed from the water, and animals slaughtered before store pick-up)

What is P-EBT, or the Coronavirus Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer?

Let’s now discuss what it means to receive further support. The government expanded its aid programs as a result of the pandemic to support individuals in need. The Secretary of Agriculture now has the authority to give the go-ahead to states who want to offer this kind of aid.

P-EBT can assist by enabling eligible children to receive temporary emergency nutrition benefits. Similar to SNAP, these nutrition benefits would be included on an EBT card. These EBT cards can be used to purchase groceries. People who would probably be qualified for this program include:

  • Children who qualify for free meals under the National School Lunch Act if their schools were closed, operating with fewer students, or had reduced hours for at least five days in a row.
  • Children who qualify for free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Act if their schools were closed, operating with fewer students, or had reduced hours for at least five days in a row.
  • Children who live in a home that receives SNAP assistance provided that the covered child care facility is closed.
  • Children in households that receive SNAP assistance, provided that the covered child care provider is operating with fewer hours or enrolling fewer children.
  • Children who are a part of a household receiving SNAP benefits as long as they reside in the neighborhood of closed schools
  • Children who live in a home that gets SNAP benefits as long as they attend or have fewer hours of school.

What States Provide This Assistance Opportunity?

It is crucial to remember that not everyone qualifies for this program, nor is it a countrywide one. The objective of this extra assistance is to enhance children’s nutrition. The following states took part in this program for the 2021-2022 academic year:

  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Indiana
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Bear in mind that states will have different benefits. This is why it is crucial to check with your state agency to see what benefits are available.

What is Summer P-EBT?

The USDA released an announcement on May 9, 2022. In the past, P-EBT only aimed to assist students during the 2021-2022 academic year. The USDA, however, continues to provide benefits through the summer of 2022. All schoolchildren who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals during the academic year will have access to P-EBT. Additionally, it is available for kids who have just qualified for summer meal benefits in states that received approval. This applies to both school children and kids in child care. Furthermore, these states allow children under the age of six to sign up for SNAP throughout the summer.

The regulations will vary depending on the age of the child. The P-EBT benefit is available to school-age children all summer long. On the other hand, SNAP-eligible children under the age of six have just until the conclusion of the government’s COVID-19 public health emergency declaration. For that specific group of beneficiaries, P-EBT benefits would expire if that declaration runs out before the end of the summer.

How Much of the Summer Season is Covered?

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) only applies to the summer months that follow a school year by no more than 90 calendar days. Therefore, the number of P-EBT benefit days would equal the number of weekdays during the summer covered by the program.

Bottom Line

As a result of the pandemic’s severe financial impact on Americans, the government established programs in an attempt to help people. P-EBT is one of the programs they provide. The pandemic EBT assistance might give eligible kids money on an EBT card to use for food purchases. However, not all states take advantage of this option for help. It is for this reason that you should check with your state agency to find out if you qualify for this. It could help you receive additional funding worth hundreds of dollars.