Next month, an estimated $35 million in unused pandemic food subsidies will expire.
In New York, families have an estimated $35 million in wasted food benefits. The benefits, known as the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer, or P-EBT, were distributed to all New York City public school families. Since 2020, many installments have been granted to assist parents in covering the expense of meals that would typically be supplied for free at school.
However, a major chunk of these monies remain unutilized, and they are set to expire in December.
According to Chalkbeat.org, there are various reasons why the money has not been used. Some families claim they never received their P-EBT cards from the state. Others have struggled with the benefits application procedure since they are still learning English. The state’s website has thorough P-EBT information and a phone hotline at 1-833-452-0096. Backdated payments will continue to be distributed to families until the end of December for individuals who did not get them before.
According to the New York Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, this includes at least $391 per kid for the summer of 2022 and the 2021–22 school year. It also includes the $120 allocated per child for the summer of 2023.
More free-money programs
If you are not from New York City, there are various programs available to assist with living expenses. As part of a $393 million refund plan, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has authorized a round of rebates. Individuals will receive $150, while couples will receive $300.
In New Jersey, the yearly Affordable New Jersey Communities for Homeowners and Renters (ANCHOR) property tax relief program has already paid out over 950,000 household payments. This year, the payouts were raised from $450 to $1,500 to $700 to $1,750. A class-action settlement may potentially entitle you to compensation.
Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) Food Benefits
The Continuing Appropriations Act of 2021 and Other Extensions Act reauthorized the provision of P-EBT food benefits to households with children who would have received free school lunches under the National School Lunch Act if the COVID-19 epidemic had not reduced in-person learning. These temporary food benefits are being offered to help cover the expense of meals that children would have normally received at school during the 2021–22 school year, as well as during the summers of 2022 and 2023.
While P-EBT food payments are not SNAP benefits, they can only be used to purchase the same foods that SNAP benefits may.
Is my child eligible for P-EBT food benefits?
Children who received free school meals under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) were eligible for P-EBT food benefits if their school had a low in-person attendance rate or if the kid was absent or distant owing to COVID-19 during the 2021–22 school year. Children who attended Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) schools as well as any private, prekindergarten (Pre-K), parochial, or charter schools that participate in the NSLP are included. P-EBT food benefits were distributed to eligible children enrolled in school for the month of June 2022. Eligible children enrolled in school in June 2023 will receive a P-EBT food benefit for the summer of 2023 by December 31, 2023. If you have any questions about your child’s involvement in the NSLP, please contact their school or school district.
How do I receive P-EBT food benefits for my qualified child?
Food Benefits for P-EBT Students in the 2021–22 School Year
Children who matched the P-EBT eligibility requirements for each month of the 2021–22 school year (September 2021 through June 2022) were entitled to earn P-EBT food benefits depending on the number of school days they were absent or attending school remotely for a COVID-19-related cause. The amount of monthly P-EBT food benefits for the 2021–22 school year is divided into three categories based on attendance:
Tier 1: $21 for children who are absent or far away for 1–5 school days per month.
Tier 2: $78 for children who miss 6–15 school days in a month.
Tier 3: $128 for children who miss 16 or more school days in a month.
Eligible children under the age of six received $31 in P-EBT food benefits for each month they received SNAP assistance between September 2021 and June 2022.
Furthermore, eligible children under the age of six on September 1, 2022, earned $29 in P-EBT food benefits for each month they received SNAP benefits between September 2022 and April 2023. In addition, eligible children got a $14 benefit for the month of May 2023.
The following children automatically got $391 in P-EBT food payments for the summer of 2022:
- Kindergarten through Grade 12 (K-12) students enrolled in an NSLP-participating school AND eligible for free or reduced-price school meals in June 2022
- Children under the age of six on September 1, 2021, who received SNAP payments in June, July, or August of that year
- P-EBT Food Benefits for Summer 2023
- The $120 Summer 2023 P-EBT food benefit will be paid automatically to eligible kindergarten through grade 12 (K–12) children enrolled in an NSLP-participating school in June 2023 and qualified for free or reduced-price school meals by December 31, 2023.
Please keep in mind that the amount of P-EBT food benefits that eligible children receive is determined by the availability of daily school attendance and enrollment data given by schools and school districts. OTDA is unable to give benefits to children who attended a NYS NSLP-participating school that did not submit enrollment or attendance statistics for the 2021-22 school year, as was our policy for the 2020–21 school year.
All Summer 2023 P-EBT food benefits of $120 per eligible kid will be paid automatically to Kindergarten through Grade 12 (K-12) students enrolled in an NSLP-participating school in June 2023 and qualified to receive free or reduced-price school meals by December 31, 2023.