Nebraska has been approved to operate the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer, a new program authorized by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which provides assistance to families of children who are eligible for free or reduced-priced meals and impacted by school closures. The designation was announced last week by the USDA.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services in partnership with the Nebraska Department of Education will operate P-EBT, a supplemental food purchasing addition to current SNAP participants and as a new EBT benefit to other eligible households not participating in SNAP. The intent is to offset the cost of meals that would have otherwise been consumed at school.

Only families with children who were determined eligible by their school for the 2019-20 school year will be eligible for the P-EBT program. Eligible families will be contacted by their schools on how to apply.

Currently, families who are already participating in SNAP do not need to apply and will have their benefits automatically placed on their EBT card. Families who are not currently participating in SNAP but have been determined eligible by their schools to receive free or reduced-priced lunches will need to apply for P-EBT through an online application and will receive a specific “P-EBT” card.

The application period runs to July 19, 2020. Information needed for the application includes: name of school, student ID number (if utilized), child(ren) name, parent/guardian name, and mailing address. No applications will be received for the one-time program after July 19.

Those who are approved for P-EBT will receive two issuances, one between July 28-31 and another between August 15-19. The allocations will vary based on the number of months of eligibility determined for the child(ren) for the free/reduced school lunch program during the months of March, April, and May. If a child is eligible for the maximum amount of P-EBT benefits, they will receive a total of $281. The July maximum issuance is $141, and the August issuance maximum is $140.

Families who do not have access to the internet to apply online can call the ACCESSNebraska hotline at 800-383-4278 to apply or stop by participating food banks that can help fill out applications in person.

Receiving P-EBT benefits will not affect a family’s ability to receive other benefits and benefits will be good for one year after receiving them.