Qualified families to receive P-EBT cards in mail
The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) is extending its successful Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program into the fall semester by sending qualifying families a card they can use to buy food for their student who has been impacted by the pandemic. Over 500,000 students received benefits to replace school meals lost during the spring. That’s more than half of all public-school children in the state.
Fall semester P-EBT will provide parents with $5.86 in benefits per student for each school day that child missed because of the COVID-19 pandemic in July, August, and September. These benefits can be used to purchase food at any establishment that accepts EBT or online with Amazon and Walmart.
To be eligible, students must receive free or reduced meals at school or attend a Community Eligibility Provision school and they must have missed at least five consecutive days of in person instruction because of school closure or virtual learning.
TDHS and the Tennessee Department of Education partnered with local school districts to identify students that meet the qualifying criteria and the correct addresses to mail the cards. The department is now in the process of mailing these cards to families.
“P-EBT provided families with important support they needed during the summer and we’re excited to partner with schools to extend the program into the fall semester,” said Tennessee Department of Human Services Commissioner Danielle W. Barnes. “Schools have truly become places families depend upon for nutrition and this program will provide resources to replace those meals while students are taking part in virtual learning. Helping families during this unprecedented time is how we will build a thriving Tennessee.”
For the second round of P-EBT, benefits will be issued on a new card and mailed to the homes of qualifying students. Funds will not be placed on a family’s existing EBT/P-EBT card. Families receiving benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) may be eligible for P-EBT during the fall semester.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act authorized the U.S. Department of Agriculture to approve states for P-EBT. Approved state agencies may operate P-EBT when a school is closed for at least five consecutive days during a public health emergency designation when the school would otherwise be in session. Tennessee is among the more than 40 states that have received P-EBT approval.