MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Help for tens of thousands of children who missed meals when their schools were closed due to the pandemic.
New money is coming to the Pandemic-EBT program, which offered benefits to children who qualified for free and reduced lunches.
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The most recent round of P-EBT funding ended last September.
The state said the amount each student will receive varies based on the below 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.
“We’ve heard from parents who’ve had their hours cut at work or have lost jobs completely or altered their schedules so they can stay home completely with their kids and facilitate online learning,” said Signe Anderson, Director of Nutrition Advocacy for the Tennessee Justice Center.
The state said new P-EBT cards will cover meals missed starting from October.
Anderson said the Tennessee Justice Center been helping families access the program. She said many of these families don’t qualify for SNAP benefits, so this next round of funding is long overdue.
“It’s been since October during some of the darkest times of the pandemic that families have been waiting so we’re eager for the next round to come out, and families are waiting and ready for the support to come,” said Anderson.
During round one of the program, the state reports approximately 765,000 students statewide received benefits and 22.4% were Shelby County students. During the most recent round, approximately 368,000 students statewide were issued benefits and 34% were Shelby County students.
But there are some slight changes to the program. The state is using an online portal to verify addresses for payments.
“Parents are getting another new card but this card is going to stay with them for the end of the pandemic,” she said.
The deadline to update your address with the state is this Sunday, March 14. For eligibility assistance, parents may contact the state’s P-EBT Hotline at 833-496- 0661.