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Kentucky students now eligible for pandemic emergency food benefits

The P-EBT benefits are for students who normally receive free or reduced lunch benefits at school.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky families with children who normally receive free or reduced-price meals at school are now able to get financial help from the state. Since schools had to close due to the coronavirus pandemic, those missed meals will be replaced through Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer or P-EBT.

The federally-funded program provides families with an EBT card with benefits equal to the value of breakfasts and lunches a student was not able to receive when schools were closed, up to $313.50. These benefits can be used to purchase SNAP-eligible grocery items like meat, produce, and dairy products.

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Approximately 75% of Kentucky students receive free or reduced-price meals, according to Department of Education Interim Commissioner Kevin C. Brown.

"Schools do more than just teach our children, they also help provide nourishment," Brown said. "Students used to receive these meals at school, and now we can provide that benefit at home, too."

Eligible households include children who are either certified to get free or reduced-price meals at school or attend a school that offers free meals to all students. Even if a school was able to provide meals through a mobile feeding program, those students are still eligible for the benefits.

Families who currently receive public assistance through SNAP, Kinship Care or other services will be automatically enrolled and no action is required. The P-EBT benefits will be applied to the family's EBT card no later than May 28.

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If a family is not receiving assistance and would like to enroll in the program, an application is available online through Benefind. Once approved, an EBT card should arrive through the mail within 10 business days with activation and card use instructions. The online application will be available from June 2 through June 30.

Students can still participate in summer feeding programs while receiving P-EBT benefits.

The P-EBT program is provided through the USDA as part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Human Services, Department for Community Based Services and Kentucky Department of Education have worked together to make the program available for Kentucky families.

For more information on the P-EBT program, visit the Kentucky Cabinet of Health and Family Services website or contact the P-EBT Information Hub at pebt.info@ky.gov.

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