The Tennessee Department of Human Services has announced the next round of the state's Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program, which supports children who receive free or reduced school meals.
Those eligible to receive the P-EBT card should verify their mailing address online by Sunday, March 14, in order to make sure that the cards are sent to recipients next month.
For eligibility assistance, parents can contact the P-EBT Hotline at 833-496-0661.
According to a news release, some changes were made to P-EBT eligibility that will allow for some students who didn’t qualify for the last round of aid to participate this time.
To be eligible for this round of P-EBT benefits participants must meet the following criteria:
- The child must qualify for free or reduced-price school meals under the National School Lunch Program. This includes any student in a school that provided free meals to all students (under a special rule called "Community Eligibility Provision").
- And, the child did not receive free or reduced-priced meals at the school because the school is closed to in-person learning; or has been operating with reduced attendance or hours for at least five consecutive days in the current school year.
P-EBT cards will be reloaded with benefits on a rolling basis as long as the United States Department of Agriculture continues to fund the program that was approved as part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that was passed in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The P-EBT cards can be used like a debit card to purchase food at any establishment that accepts EBT, or online with vendors including Amazon, Walmart, Aldi and Food Lion, and Superlo in Memphis.
The amount each student will receive will vary based on the following learning schedule:
- Students who are learning 100% virtually will receive $122.76 in P-EBT a month.
- Students who are on a hybrid learning schedule will receive an amount based on the statewide average number of days students spent that month on hybrid schedules. For October 2020 that amount is $51.15.
According to the state, P-EBT benefits were provided to more than 740,000 children during the spring 2020 school semester, and another 364,000 children received benefits for the second round that ended in September 2020.
“We have been working directly with school districts and community groups to ensure qualifying families receive these funds directly in a timely manner,” TDHS Commissioner Clarence H. Carter said in the news release. “With eligibility changes to this new round, more children are now eligible, and we need any family receiving free or reduced lunch support to check their status online.”