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Published on Friday, February 11, 2022
The RI Department of Human Services (DHS) and the RI Department of Education (RIDE) have received USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) approval to issue Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) benefits to school age children for the current school year. Beginning Feb. 15, 2022, eligible school age children in SNAP and non-SNAP households will start receiving P-EBT benefits to help ensure all children in Rhode Island have access to nutritious meals.
Similar to last year’s P-EBT issuance, school age children who are learning virtually or missed school due to COVID and who would have otherwise received free or reduced priced meals through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) will be eligible to receive P-EBT benefits. Benefits will be issued monthly at a daily rate of $7.10 per child.
Notices will be mailed to families to notify them that they will receive P-EBT benefits for their child during the current school year. Retroactive benefits will be issued to eligible children through April 2022 for the period between September 2021 and January 2022. P-EBT benefits for the remaining months in the school year will be issued at a later time in coordination with RIDE.
Using school data provided to RIDE, DHS will issue P-EBT benefits to eligible students in both public and private school settings. Children attending school virtually or who are absent for COVID-related reasons as reported by their school are eligible to receive P-EBT benefits for the number school days that they are not attending school in-person each month.
“Parents and children have had an incredibly challenging time this school year because of ongoing disruptions related to COVID. For some families, school lunches may be the primary source of food for children in their households,” said Interim Director Celia J. Blue. “P-EBT will provide some needed relief for families at a critical time.”
“No child in Rhode Island should ever go hungry just because they miss a day of school,” said Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green. “Our students can’t learn and grow to their fullest potential if their base needs aren’t being met. Through this continued federal funding, we can ensure every child in our school system has access to healthy, nutritious meals every day regardless of their family’s economic status.”
For families that received benefits on a P-EBT card the previous year, benefits will be issued on the same card. Children who did not receive P-EBT benefits last year and are eligible for the first time this year will have a P-EBT card – in the child’s name -- mailed to them at the address on file at their school. Children in SNAP households who are eligible for P-EBT benefits will have benefits issued to their household’s SNAP-EBT card.
Parents may receive more than one P-EBT card if there is more than one eligible school age child in their household. Families do not have to take any additional actions to receive P-EBT benefits. United Way’s 211 is available to answer general questions families may have about P-EBT benefits.
P-EBT plans for children in covered child care facilities—defined by FNS as children under age 6 receiving SNAP benefits— are not approved at this time. Additional information will be provided when P-EBT expands to children in covered child care facilities.
More information about P-EBT for the 2021-2022 academic school year is available online here.