BOSTON – Today, the Healey-Driscoll Administration announced that Massachusetts has received federal approval to continue Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) benefits covering school year 2022 – 2023 and summer 2023.
P-EBT is a federal child nutrition program created during the COVID-19 public health emergency to promote increased food security for students eligible for free or reduced-price school meals through the United States Department of Agriculture’s National School Lunch Program (NSLP) who missed school due to COVID-19. This is the last round of school year and summer P-EBT food benefits following the end of the federal public health emergency on May 11.
P-EBT in the Commonwealth is jointly administered by the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), in collaboration with local school districts.
“Massachusetts continues to lead in food security through initiatives that directly provide families with the funds to buy groceries that meet their nutritional and cultural needs,” said?Health and Human Services Secretary Kate Walsh. “Not only does this P-EBT plan approval promote food security for nearly 500,000 students and their families, but it also supports our local grocery stores, corner stores, farmers, and their employees.”
“Food security is essential for the health and wellbeing of our students—and that need doesn’t end just because the school year does,” said?Education Secretary Patrick Tutwiler.?“I’m grateful that DTA and DESE are able to work with Massachusetts’ local school districts to connect families and communities to these critical food resources this summer.”
Eligible K-12 families will receive a retroactive P-EBT payment on June 25 for COVID-19-related school absences that occurred September 2022 through May 11, 2023. Amounts depend on the number of COVID-19-related excused absences accrued in a month as reported by school districts:
• 1-5 absences: $25 a month per student
• 6-15 absences: $82 a month per student
• 16+ absences: $147 a month per student
In addition, an estimated 475,000 school-age children and their families will receive $120 per student in one Summer P-EBT payment on July 25. K-12 students are eligible for Summer P-EBT if they were eligible for NSLP either during the school year or the covered summer period. Students are eligible for NSLP if they are or were enrolled in SNAP, TANF, eligible categories of Medicaid, or if the school they attended participates in a specific program for high-need areas. Students previously ineligible for free or reduced-price meals may submit a school meal household application to reassess their potential eligibility no later than August 1 to qualify for summer P-EBT. Interested families must contact their school district to obtain an application.