The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program, which aims to help Tennessee families feed their families during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, has extended the online application period until 4:30 p.m., Aug. 14.
“Hundreds of thousands of children currently have access to additional nutritional support through our P-EBT program, and we want to make sure more families are aware of this opportunity,” Tennessee Department of Human Services Commissioner Danielle W. Barnes explained. “These families depend on the meals their children get at school and immediately faced an unexpected financial burden when those schools closed. By providing these families with the support they need now we are taking important steps to build a thriving Tennessee when the pandemic passes.”
P-EBT, which was authorized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through Families First Coronavirus Response Act, operates when a school has been closed for five consecutive days during a public health emergency. P-EBT now provides parents with $5.70 in benefits per child for each day that the child qualifies. Benefits can be used to purchase food at any store that accepts EBT as well as through online shopping with both Amazon and Walmart.
To qualify, children must receive free or reduced meals at school or attend a Community Eligibility Provision school, which includes all of White County elementary schools as well as White County Middle School (WCHS students must provide proof of free/reduced meal eligibility). The program is designed to replace meals, in retrospect, lost during the months of March, April, and May because of COVID-19 school closures.
P-EBT was initially launched in Tennessee, on June 12, by providing the benefits to qualifying families that were already taking part in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program by adding the additional P-EBT benefits to their existing EBT cards.
Families who do not currently receive SNAP or TANF need to apply for the program and will receive a P-EBT card in the mail after approval. Tennessee Department of Human Services warns that approval times can be delayed by inaccurate or incomplete information on the application and encourages families to double check all names and addresses to make sure they match what their children’s schools will have on file.
Individuals who need assistance completing their P-EBT application or have general questions about the program are encouraged to call the TDHS Family Assistance Service Center at 1-866-311- 4287.