State distributes $1B-plus for food

Governor announces added benefits to feed children

Julye Keeble

Staff writer

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday announced more than $1 billion in food benefits to be distributed to families with children who have temporarily lost access to free or discounted school meals due to COVID-19-related school closures.

Abbott said the funding was authorized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and will be distributed through the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program will provide a one-time benefit of $285 per child to eligible households to be used to pay for groceries, and it is administered through a coordinated effort by the HHSC, the Texas Department of Agriculture, and the Texas Education Agency.

“I thank the U.S. Department of Agriculture for providing these emergency benefits to Texas families, and for the swift action of our state agencies to administer these benefits across the state,” Abbott said.

More than three million children in Texas are certified to receive free or reduced-price meals at school during the 2019-2020 school year.

Households with school children who received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program food benefits for the month of March or were recipients of free or reduced-price meals at school before the statewide school closure are eligible for the program, as are families certified for free or reduced-price school meals program after schools closed for the year due to COVID-19.

Families with children aged 5 to 18 years old who received SNAP food benefits for the month of March will automatically receive P-EBT on their current Lone Star Card by May 22.

Families who meet the criteria but did not receive SNAP benefits for the month of March will need to apply, as do families with children who received meals at no cost due to their schools being defined as Community Eligibility Provision or Provision II.

Those families will receive a notification from their school district by May 31 which will include eligibility information and how to access the application.

The application will be open from June 1 to June 30, and applications will be processed in the order they are received. After completing the application, eligible families will receive benefits on a new Texas P-EBT card in the mail.

Visit hhs.texas.gov/pebt to learn more.

jkeeble@ulnnow.com, 830-278-3335



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