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P-EBT Receives OK

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has approved New York state’s request to operate the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program authorized under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

New York state had submitted its plan for P-EBT-which provides nutritional resources to families who have lost access to free or reduced-price school meals-on March 25. However, approval for the program was still pending on April 29, when Sens. Charles Schumer, D-New York and Senate minority leader, and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, sent a letter to the U.S. Agriculture Department urging quick approval. A week later, the administration approved the request.

“The Department of Agriculture has done the right thing by heeding our call and approving New York’s P-EBT program for easier access to school lunches,” Schumer said. “Over half of New York State’s public school students receive free or reduced-price school meals, and thousands of children need food assistance due to school closures. This program will get the necessary food assistance to these students and their families as soon as possible and ensure that New York’s hungry children are fed.”

The P-EBT program created under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act would provide assistance to families of children eligible for free or reduced-price meals dealing with school closures. P-EBT would send eligible households an EBT card with the value of free school breakfast and lunch for the days that schools are closed, if they’ve been closed for more than 5 consecutive days due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program would permit New York State to provide benefits similar to SNAP benefits to more than 1.4 million children in the state who normally receive free or reduced price school meals and those who attend schools that offer free meals to all students.

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