Children In School Meals Program Getting Emergency SNAP Benefits
HARTFORD - The Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS) has announced that because of the cancellation of in-person, pre-K to grade 12 classes at all schools in the state for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year, the families of approximately 265,631 public school students and 1,748 private school students who participate in the free or reduced-price meals program will soon receive additional, emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits under the federal Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) program to ensure that children continue to receive nutritious meals while learning from home during the pandemic.
Initially, when schools were slated to reopen on May 20, the state received federal approval to provide $71.3 million in EBT benefits. That amount, however, increased to $97.5 million when the decision was made to cancel in-person classes for the remainder of the academic year.
The emergency SNAP funding for children who participate in the free or reduced-price meals program was authorized by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
DSS estimates that it will issue approximately $34.5 million in additional food benefits to about 70,000 SNAP-eligible households and $63 million in food benefits to about 80,800 households not currently enrolled in SNAP. DSS is partnering with the Connecticut State Department of Education on the plan, which was approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service.
*Pandemic EBT SNAP benefits will be deposited in the EBT accounts of about 70,000 households currently enrolled in SNAP on or about Sunday, May 24. An additional 800 households enrolled in the Temporary Family Assistance Program, but not currently enrolled in SNAP, will also receive Pandemic EBT SNAP benefits in their EBT accounts at that time.
*DSS will mail EBT debit cards to about 80,000 households not currently enrolled in SNAP and will deposit Pandemic EBT SNAP benefits into their new EBT accounts on Sunday, June 7, for Medicaid-enrolled households and on Sunday, June 21, for all other households. These are households that do not currently have EBT cards because they are not enrolled in SNAP or cash assistance.
*Benefits can be used at any location that accepts SNAP/EBT cards. This includes famers’ markets and direct market farms. Pandemic EBT participants will also have online access to eligible food purchases through delivery or curbside pickup when it is implemented in the overall SNAP program.
*Families do not need to apply for Pandemic EBT benefits, as children are automatically eligible because in-person classes are not in session. The planned one-time benefit is $364.80 per child enrolled in the free and reduced-price meals program.