The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer is a $1 billion federal program that began in June and provides families a one-time benefit of $285 per child to help pay for groceries. The program is intended to help fill a need that arose when schools closed across the state this spring and many children lost access to free or reduced-price meals.
The deadline for applications was initially set to run out on July 31, but Gov. Greg Abbott announced July 28 that he would extend the program an additional three weeks—allowing families to continue applying through Aug. 21.
“I encourage eligible Texans to apply for these benefits so they can continue to provide food for their families during these challenging times,” Abbott said in a media release.
The funds can be used in the same way as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP benefits.
According to the media release from Abbott’s office, more than 3 million children in Texas were certified to receive free or reduced-price meals at school during the 2019-20 academic year. So far, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission says it has delivered $790 million through the federal program to benefit more than 2.8 million children.
According to a flyer from Austin Public Health, families with children ages 5-18 who were already receiving SNAP benefits in March were automatically enrolled in P-EBT. Families who did not receive SNAP benefits in March but have children up to age 21 eligible for free or reduced-price meals can apply for P-EBT benefits. More information about the program is available at the HHSC website.