State issuing food benefits to all households with children who receive free or reduced-price meals

Buffalo

ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. (WIVB)–The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) will issue pandemic EBT food benefit to all state households with school-aged children who receive free or reduced-price lunches under the National School Lunch Act.

According to the Erie County Department of Social Services, families with eligible children will automatically receive EBT benefits for each child for the time schools were closed due to COVID-19 as part of the Families First Corona Virus Response Act.

OTDA will use information from local SNAP, Temporary Assistance, and Medicaid rosters used for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) to determine eligibility for the benefits.

Officials say they will also use eligibility rosters from school districts and schools participating in the NSLP.

The P-EBT benefits will be issued directly by OTDA.

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, according to the Erie County Department of Social Services.

Below is a breakdown of the monthly P-EBT benefits for each eligible child based on the number of days schools were closed during the months for which the benefits are being issued:

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

Officials say the maximum benefit per child will be $420.

P-EBT benefits will be issued in three 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.

Officials say while the P-EBT benefits are not SNAP benefits, they are subject to the same purchase and use restrictions as SNAP.

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, officials tell News 4.

For more information visit:

http://www2.erie.gov/socialservices/

https://otda.ny.gov/SNAP-COVID-19/Frequently-Asked-Questions-Pandemic-EBT.asp

Troy Licastro is a digital content producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2018. See more of his work here.

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