State to receive $45.1 million to ensure children have access to food during school break
PROVIDENCE, RI — The Rhode Island Department of Human Services (DHS) and Department of Education (RIDE) today announced that the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) recently granted Rhode Island approval to extend Pandemic-EBT benefits (P-EBT) through the summer months of July and August 2021. As they did throughout the school year, RIDE and DHS are working together to distribute P-EBT throughout the summer.
“Access to nutrition is deeply important to the health and development of our children, and ensuring that access has been one of our major focuses throughout the pandemic,” said Interim DHS Director Celia J. Blue. “This extended funding will make an enormous difference in the lives of the families receiving it. We will be working throughout the summer to get these benefits into the hands of every family who needs them.”
“School is more than just a place of learning—for many of our students, it’s the source of two of their meals five days a week,” said Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green. “The pandemic EBT benefits have been crucial to our efforts to support those students when they cannot attend school in person. We are thrilled to be able to continue those benefits through the summer, and we are grateful to the staff at DHS who are working together with us to distribute these benefits.”
The summer P-EBT benefits are available to all school age children who were eligible to receive or qualified for free or reduced priced meals at their schools through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) during the 2020-2021 school year and children under the age of 6 who also receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. For school age students, the first payment will be issued on existing P-EBT or SNAP EBT cards on or about July 16 and the second payment will be issued on or about August 17. For children under age 6 who live in a SNAP household, the payments will be added to their household’s SNAP EBT card on or about July 29 and August 27. The benefit amount is $187.50 for each child each month.
Students who are already eligible for free or reduced price meals do not need to complete any additional applications and will be issued summer P-EBT benefits automatically. Students that are not currently eligible, but think they might be now are encouraged to complete a Meal Benefit application by August 27, 2021 in order to be eligible to receive Summer P-EBT.
Today’s announcement is a continuation of Rhode Island’s leadership in distributing P-EBT benefits. Rhode Island was first in the country to issue P-EBT in the spring of 2020 and one of only 20 states to issue P-EBT benefits for August and September of 2020. After FNS agreed to resume P-EBT under new eligibility guidelines, RI was among the first three states to resume these benefits.