KATC NEWS: The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) says it has received federal approval to distribute a second round of Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) benefits to eligible Louisiana families.

P-EBT benefits will start rolling out in the summer to qualifying households with children in grades K-12 (including pre-K students in public and some private schools).

DCFS says that the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service approved the state’s plan on April 22, 2021.

Students are eligible to receive P-EBT if they would normally receive free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program, but haven’t been receiving those meals during the 2020-21 school year because their school is closed or they are on a fully virtual or hybrid learning schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the state, Louisiana distributed more than $137.1 million in P-EBT benefits to 284,259 families during the first round of Pandemic EBT this past year. Those benefits covered meals missed during the 2019-20 school year due to school closures.

No Application Needed

Parents do not need to apply for P-EBT. DCFS says that schools will report to them which students meet the criteria for eligibility and whether they are on a hybrid or fully virtual learning schedule. DCFS will then issue P-EBT benefits on a Louisiana Purchase EBT card to each eligible student at the mailing address provided by their school.

Eligible students in hybrid learning situations will receive $48.23 per month, and eligible students in fully virtual learning situations will receive $120.71 per month.

Benefits will be retroactive to Aug. 1, 2020 to cover the full school year, and will be issued in installments over the next few months, DCFS says.

If a student’s learning schedule changes, their benefit level will change accordingly as reported by their school.

  • Families who received P-EBT for the 2019-20 school year: The benefits for this year will be issued on a new card.
  • Families who receive SNAP: P-EBT benefits will be issued on a separate card in each eligible child’s name, not on your regular SNAP EBT card.
  • CARDS WILL BE ISSUED IN THE STUDENT’S NAME.
  • Student ID or Activation Number Needed: The child’s student ID or activation number will be needed in place of their Social Security Number to activate the P-EBT card. Parents who do not have their child’s student ID or activation number should contact their child’s school.
  • KEEP YOUR NEW P-EBT CARD: All P-EBT benefits for each eligible child for the 2020-21 school year, and any potential future benefits, will be issued on the same card per child.

Due to the number of cards being issued, DCFS says it may take several weeks for a child’s card to arrive. Families are asked to be patient and not request a new card, as that would only cause more delay.Cards will be issued as DCFS receives information from each school.

Families with more than one child may receive their children’s cards at different times, according to when each child’s school submitted their information.

Families may receive P-EBT benefits and also receive food from grab-and-go student meal sites.

DCFS says that receiving P-EBT benefits does not affect a student’s or their family’s immigration status, as the public charge rule does not apply to P-EBT funds.

P-EBT benefits may be used to purchase SNAP-eligible food items at stores that accept EBT cards. The benefits are available for 365 days from the issue date and are non-transferable.

More information about P-EBT is available at www.pebt-la.org.

This article was originally published by KATC NEWS.

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