Maryland has received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to operate a Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program to help feed students during school closures.
According to the USDA, Maryland has approximately 431,000 students eligible for free or reduced meals at school. After schools closed down to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the State submitted an application to the USDA to provide meal replacement benefits through SNAP. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) of 2020 gave the USDA Secretary the ability to approve plans for temporary emergency eligibility standards. Now with USDA approval,Maryland will be able to provide both students receiving SNAP benefits and those eligible for free and reduced meals with an estimated $5.70 per day.
From coverage by WMAR:
“While local school districts and agencies are distributing meals at over 600 emergency sites across the State, this additional P-EBT benefit will help sustain students and their families through the COVID-19 pandemic crisis,” said Dr. Karen B. Salmon, Ph.D., State Superintendent of Schools.
“This federal-state-local partnership led by the Department of Human Services will dramatically help maximize the nutritional well-being of children in Maryland.”