Student families in WV to get second round of food benefits

There will be a second round of the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Program (P-EBT) sent to families of eligible children who qualify for free or reduced-price school meals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program will continue to be administered through the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR).

Families should expect to see the new card with food benefits arrive at their residences in mid-March, state officials said.

On February 4,  the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved the added food credits for children who would have received free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program if schools had operated normally during the year.

“We are incredibly grateful that another round of these benefits will be allocated in West Virginia, even as the challenges posed by the pandemic continue,” Gov. Jim Justice said.

The nutrition funding has resulted in more than $72.6 million in food assistance support for West Virginia children, and an estimated $200 million is expected as a part of the next round of benefits.

Families last year received a food card from the state for each eligible child.

“The P-EBT program has been important because of the flexibility it offers families. As the pandemic continues, children will benefit immensely from these extended benefits that will strengthen our efforts to ensure children have access to the nutrition they need,” said State Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch.

Benefits will start to be released mid-March and will be applied retroactively to the beginning of the school year.

The benefits will be issued to a special P-EBT card, not to the Mountain State EBT card. That means families will get a new electronic benefits card in the mail.

“We know the pandemic has been an incredibly stressful time for West Virginia families and hope that P-EBT alleviates some challenges,” said Cabinet Secretary for the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bill J. Crouch.

A public information hotline and website (www.wvpebt.org) will be available starting Monday, February 15, to explain the latest round of P-EBT.

For information about COVID-19, please visit www.coronavirus.wv.gov or wvde.us/COVID19.

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