By Department of Human Services
The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) recently granted Rhode Island the authority to issue Pandemic-EBT benefits (P-EBT) to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and non-SNAP households with one or more children who have temporarily lost access to free or reduced-price meals at school due to COVID-19 school closures. For households receiving SNAP benefits, the additional benefits will be added to their existing EBT cards. Households not currently receiving SNAP benefits will receive a new P-EBT card in the mail with benefits automatically added and a personal identification number (PIN) and setup instructions.
The Department of Human Services (DHS) will calculate monthly benefits for each eligible child in the household equal to the daily reimbursement for free breakfast and lunch ($5.70) multiplied by the number of days school was canceled in the months of March and April. Additional benefits will be added to the same EBT card if school closures continue in May and June 2020. The first issuance will be for 34 days to cover the school closures from March 16, 2020 through April 30, 2020. That’s $193.80 per child. Working in partnership with RIDE to identify children receiving free or reduced-price meals, DHS estimates issuing P-EBT benefits to 32,465 children whose families are SNAP recipients and 40,740 children whose families do not receive SNAP benefits for this first issuance.
• Households where DHS was able to match their child’s name to a current SNAP case will receive the benefit on their current EBT card on Monday, April 20.
• Children in non-SNAP households who receive free or reduced price meals will receive a new card by May 1 with PIN and setup instructions and the funds added to those cards. To the rights is a picture of what will come with the card. It will be in English and in Spanish.
For more information on P-EBT and other DHS measures for SNAP recipients, go to our “What’s New” page (link below).