Pandemic EBT food benefit coming to some New York families

Posted at 11:48 AM, May 28, 2020

NEW YORK (WKBW) — A Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) food benefit will soon be coming to some households across New York State.

The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (ODTA) will be issuing pandemic EBT food benefits to households with school-aged children who receive free or reduced-price lunches under the National School Lunch Act.

This action is part of the Families First Corona Virus Response Act of 2020.

Families with eligible children will automatically receive the benefit for each eligible child, there is no application process.

"OTDA will use information from local Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance (TA), and Medicaid rosters used for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) direct certification process, and eligibility rosters from school districts and schools participating in the NSLP to determine eligibility for these benefits," A release states. "P-EBT benefits will be issued directly by OTDA and local Departments of Social Services have no responsibility for their administration. Parents of eligible children who do not currently receive SNAP, TA, or Medicaid will receive notices beginning in mid-June about the P-EBT benefit."

The maximum benefit for each eligible child will be $420 and has been calculated based on the number of days schools were closed:

  • March – $68.00
  • April – $125.00
  • May – $119.00
  • June – $108.00

The benefits will be issued in waves:

First wave – children aged 5-18 who were active in SNAP and TA households as of March 2020. Benefits will be made available to this cohort on a staggered basis in late May and late June.

Second wave - Children and young adults active in Medicaid-only cases who were directly certified for NSLP based on receipt of Medicaid. Benefits will all be made available to this cohort on a staggered schedule in late June.

Third Wave - Children and young adults not included in the first two payment cohorts:

  • Children ages 3-4 who may be participating in NSLP FRPMs in pre-kindergarten programs and in receipt of SNAP or TA;
  • Young adults with disabilities who are ages 19-21, still in school and receiving FRPMs, and in receipt of SNAP or TA; and,
  • All other children and young adults receiving FRPMs and participating in the NSLP. These are children who may have been certified for eligibility by their school or school district, or who attend school in a Community Eligibility Provision (“CEP”) district or school where all children receive FRPMs.
  • Benefits will all be made available to this cohort on a rolling issuance schedule, as school district rosters are received and processed, beginning in early July and concluding no later than August 31, 2020.

"P-EBT benefits are not SNAP benefits," a release states. "However, P-EBT benefits are subject to the same purchase and use restrictions as SNAP benefits. They are intended to be used to purchase food for the household of the children that received them and may only be used to purchase the same food items that purchased with SNAP benefits."