Georgia DOE, DFCS provide parents with back-funding for meals during 45 days of COVID-19 shutdowns

According to officials with Georgia’s Division of Family and Children Services, 55% of Georgia’s k-12 students will be eligible for a one-time payment of $256.50 through the federal Pandemic-Electronic Benefits Transfer program. Deadline for application is Sept. 25.

The program is designed to assist families that fall into the income bracket that qualifies for the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Program (NSLP), which provides free, or reduced-price breakfasts and lunches at schools. Those families will receive funds to retro-actively cover the cost of lunches during the 45 days that Georgia schools were cancelled last spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Families will receive a one-time allotment of $256.50 in P-EBT benefits per child based on a calculation of $5.07 per day for the 45 days the child missed school in Georgia.The funds to pay for this program were a part of the Federal Coronavirus Stimulus Package that passed in March.

The P-EBT program will be available to children who were eligible for the national school lunch program during the 2019–2020 school year and will use data from GaDOE to determine a child’s eligibility for P-EBT.

Although the administration of the P-EBT program was placed with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as SNAP benefits, or food stamps, the income threshold less restrictive than standard SNAP guidelines – meaning that families that do not normally qualify for SNAP benefits may still qualify for P-EBT funds.

For those currently receiving SNAP:

Families who are already registered for, and received, SNAP benefits, will automatically receive the $256.50 benefit as a credit on their SNAP account.

For those not currently receiving SNAP:

All other eligible families will need to fill out an online form. If qualified, families who are not already registered for SNAP benefits and do not have an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card, will be mailed a card with the one-time P-EBT funds loaded on the card. Be sure to provide the correct mailing address when filling out the online form. If approved, an EBT card will be mailed to the family within three to four weeks. The family will receive information in the mail explaining how to activate and use their EBT card, along with their card. Families that do not currently receive SNAP benefits will have 60 days from the date the application opens to request benefits. The P-EBT application was released on July 28, 2020. The deadline for applying will be Sept. 26. Student parents/guardians in Stephens County can submit the necessary form through the DFCS Website or through their Parent Portal. Note that Georgia Gateway and the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (PEBT) application will be unavailable from 11 p.m on Friday, Aug. 28 to 9 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 30 for planned system maintenance.

Existing registration and participation in the NSLP does not trigger automatic payment; families who are enrolled in the low-or-no-cost lunch program, but are not receiving SNAP benefits, will still need to apply for the one-time payment.

Jon Anderson, Chief Deputy Division Director of DFCS’ Office of Family Independence, stressed that parents who did not originally qualify for the free-or-reduced Lunch Program may now qualify, due to job loss or reduction in work hours because of the the pandemic. DFCS estimates that more than 515,000 families across the state will be eligible for the $256.50 P-EBT benefit.

Families who participated in the U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded “Seamless Summer” lunch program in the Spring are still eligible for the P-EBT program.

For more information about P-EBT and other frequently asked questions, visit https://dfcs.georgia.gov/pandemic-electronic-benefit-transfer

Need more information?

For state P-EBT general information, email customer_services_dfcs@dhs.ga.gov

For state P-EBT general information phone number: 404-657-3433

Customer Contact Center (toll-free): 877-423-4746

FYI


NSLP Income calculations are made based on the following formulas: Monthly income is calculated by dividing the annual income by 12; twice monthly income is computed by dividing annual income by 24; income received every two weeks is calculated by dividing annual income by 26; and weekly income is computed by dividing annual income by 52. All numbers are rounded upward to the next whole dollar.


2019 - 2020 NSLP Eligibility Guidelines (P-EBT eligibility is determined using the 2019-20 MSLP guidelines)

2019-20 NSLP Eligibility Income Guidelines. Students eligible for the NSLP under these guidelines are also eligible for the P-EBT one-time benefit. Click on image to view at a larger size.

The numbers reflected in this notice for a family of four in the 48 contiguous states, the District of Columbia, Guam and the territories represent an increase of 2.6 percent over the 2018-19 level for a family of the same size.





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