Families that have lost access to free or reduced-price meals because of school closures related to COVID-19 are eligible for a one-time pandemic electronic benefit transfer, or P-EBT, according to Texas Health and Human Services.
Texas received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide more than $1 billion in pandemic food benefits, and P-EBT works like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits do; they can be used similar to a debit card.
Eligible children include those ages 5-18 years old that received SNAP benefits in March 2020 and children up to 21 years old who are certified for free or reduced-price meals at school in Texas during the 2019-20 school year, the HHS said.
Each eligible child will receive $285. Families who received SNAP benefits in March do not need to apply and should have received the benefits by May 22, according to the HHS. Families with children up to 21 years old who are certified to receive free or reduced-price lunch meals during this past school year do need to apply.
The appropriate school district will send out a link to an online application by the first week of June, the HHS said. Once a family’s application is received and eligibility is verified, they will receive a Texas P-EBT card in the mail that includes the funds. Benefits for each eligible child will all be on the same card. At this time, only one payment of $285 per child has been approved by the government.
Funds can be used as soon as the card is received, and if they are not used within one year, any unused benefits will expire.