$1.4 billion in P-EBT summer food benefits will be awarded to eligible children in Texas
Posted at 12:12 a.m. on Tuesday, November 22, 2022
In the 2021-2022 school year, K-12 students received Pandemic-Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) benefits based on documented COVID-19 absences.
Each student received $7 in benefits for each day of doctor-confirmed quarantine. Eligible students received notification by postal mail.
In August 2022, the State of Texas was added to the list of states and territories authorized to operate a P-EBT program. This means that families, even those not directly affected by a COVID-19 infection, can receive P-EBT food assistance later this month.
On November 16, Governor Greg Abbott announced the details of this fifth round of P-EBT benefits for Texas families.
“The State of Texas continues to work to ensure families and children impacted by school closures have access to nutritious meals,” he said. “I thank HHSC and TEA for working with the USDA to provide these dietary benefits to Texas families across the state.”
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) state guidelines provide flexibility in the distribution of summer P-EBT. States may release multiple awards over the summer, or a single benefit will be awarded. Since Texas has yet to award the Summer PEBT, the show will be a one-time award arriving in November or December.
Summer P-EBT in Texas is permitted through coordination between the federal and state governments.
At the federal level, this includes passing the Family First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 and the US Bailout Act of 2021.
Passage of the legislation empowered the USDA to work with the Texas Department of Agriculture, Texas Education Agency, and Texas Department of Health and Human Services to provide benefits to eligible children.
When the COVID19 pandemic began, universal free meals were possible through waivers from the Texas Department of Agriculture and the USDA. The waivers were not extended for the 2022-23 school year, requiring full-wage families in Orange County to pay $70.65 to $101.50/month to be served breakfast and lunch. lunch at K-12 schools.
The state has expressed concern for food-insecure families and looks forward to offering summer P-EBT.
Regarding Texas Summer PEBT, Wayne Salter, Deputy Executive Commissioner of HHS Access and Eligibility Services, said, “We are proud to support Texas families so they can provide food for their children. Being well nourished allows children to focus on learning rather than on where their next meal will come from.
The USDA is allowing each participating state to provide K-12 students with the standard benefit of $391 per child, regardless of the declared COVID-19 health emergency status at the federal and state levels. Eligible children will receive a notification by mail with instructions detailing how to access the benefits.
Some daycare-age children may also be eligible for P-EBT; those already enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will see the benefits loaded onto their Lone Star card in December.
For more information about Summer P-EBT benefits, interested parties can call 833-442-1255 or visit Texas HHS at hhs.texas.gov/pebt.
— Written by Shari Hardin