State Announces Federal Approval for September Pandemic EBT

BOSTON – The state has received federal approval to issue additional Pandemic EBT, or P-EBT, benefits to promote increased food security for families who participate in the United States Department of Agriculture’s National School Lunch Program.

The funds will help cover the cost of missed school meals from the month of September due to delayed school opening or remote learning, for over 470,000 students and their families.

Benefits will start being available September 30 for an estimated total amount of over $40 million of federal dollars.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act gave states the ability to request special waivers from the Secretary of USDA to establish a new federal program, P-EBT.

The Massachusetts program was first launched in April to help more than 522,000 students buy healthy food while schools were closed from March through June due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It brought more than $207 million in federal dollars into the Commonwealth, supporting families across the state and local retailers.

“Thanks to close coordination at the state and local level, Massachusetts was one of the first states approved for P-EBT and continues to be a leader on addressing food security and maximizing federally funded food assistance programs that support many of our vulnerable populations, including children,” said COVID-19 Command Center Director and Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders.

“Every individual, family and community in the Commonwealth should have access to healthy food. These P-EBT benefits will continue to help hundreds of thousands of families.”

P-EBT is administered by DTA and DESE.

Eligible students who receive DTA benefits will receive their P-EBT benefits on their existing EBT card.

Eligible students who do not receive DTA benefits, but were mailed a P-EBT card in the past, will receive their P-EBT benefits on their existing P-EBT card.

Families who lost their P-EBT card can request a new one at starting October 1.

Newly eligible students will receive a P-EBT card in the mail in October.

Many families eligible for P-EBT are also eligible for on-going food assistance benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and are encourage to check eligibility and apply at

Eligible students will receive $5.86 a day based on the number of days their school building has been closed due to delayed start and the days they are learning remotely for at least five days in a row in the month.

Families can check their P-EBT balance by calling the number on the back of the card.

P-EBT benefits can be used anywhere SNAP benefits are accepted, including online from Walmart and Amazon.

P-EBT benefits supplement the free grab and go meal sites that are still available this fall. They do not replace them.

Kids and teens can get free meals at hundreds of locations throughout the state, no registration or ID required.

Meals will be available as late as December 31, 2020.

About Justin Saunders

Justin Saunders has nearly 10 years of experience in radio, television, online and newspaper journalism across the US and Canada. Justin joined the NewsCenter in May 2014 and continues to help provide coverage of the Cape and Islands.
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