Parents of students who received free or reduced-price school meals during the 2019-2020 school year may be eligible for a reimbursement of federal dollars for meals missed due to spring school closures.
An initiative called Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer, which is included in the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, awards parents $256.50 for each child they have who was receiving free or reduced-price school meals as of March 2019, prior to school buildings closing their doors.
Those wishing to receive the benefit must apply on the Georgia Division of Family & Children Services website by Sept. 25.
The $256.50 equates to $5.70 per day for the 45 days'-worth of school meals missed during the period that Georgia public school buildings were closed last semester. The $5.70 per day is what Georgia DFCS was approved to issue for each child missed school in Georgia. All children will receive the same amount.
Eligible parents will receive that amount for each child they have, up to $2,052 if they have eight children in the household, according to the DFCS website.
P-EBT compensation must be used within 365 days of it being awarded and can be used at any store that accepts Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, per the DFCS website.
Parents of Hall County and Gainesville students who were receiving free and reduced-price meals are eligible for the benefit, even though both school districts delivered school lunches via buses throughout the spring and early summer, according to Latisha Flesher, director of the Hall County DFCS office.
Those who are already enrolled in SNAP do not need to apply for P-EBT and will have the P-EBT compensation added to their EBT card automatically, according to the DFCS website.
Any SNAP participants with children attending a Georgia public school who did not receive P-EBT compensation on their EBT card are encouraged to contact DFCS to sort out the situation. Those not receiving SNAP benefits will have to apply for the P-EBT compensation and will have an EBT card sent to them as soon as their application for P-EBT is processed, according to the DFCS website.
Foster parents are also eligible for the compensation, but parents of students in private schools are not eligible unless the private school participates in the National School Lunch Program. Home schooled students are not eligible for P-EBT.
P-EBT has not yet been renewed for the 2020-2021 school year.
Families with further questions regarding the benefit can call the P-EBT direct line at 855-501-4636.