The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) is working with local schools to give eligible families who missed the deadline to apply for the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program another chance to receive food assistance.

The department is sending a P-EBT card to the last school those qualifying students attended in the spring for their parents to pick up.

P-EBT provides parents with $5.70 in benefits per student for each day that child qualifies. These benefits can be used to purchase food at any establishment that accepts EBT or online with Amazon and Walmart.

To be eligible, students must have received free or reduced meals at school or attended a Community Eligibility Provision school during the months of March, April and/or May. The program is designed to replace meals lost due to COVID-19 school closures.

This second opportunity for parents to receive P-EBT follows a successful application process that wrapped up in August with more than 500,000 children receiving benefits.

“Tennessee’s P-EBT program has already provided support to more than half of all public-school students in the state and we’re excited to give more families an opportunity to benefit,” said Tennessee Department of Human Services Commissioner Danielle W. Barnes. “Now more than ever, citizens truly are looking to us for help. By ensuring students’ nutritional needs are met, we’re enabling Tennesseans to thrive when the pandemic subsides.”

Qualifying families will need to provide a valid ID to the school to pick up the cards. Any cards that aren’t picked up after 30 days will be returned to TDHS for disposal.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act authorized the U.S. Department of Agriculture to approve states for Pandemic EBT (P-EBT). Approved state agencies may operate P-EBT when a school is closed for at least five consecutive days during a public health emergency designation when the school would otherwise be in session.

Tennessee is among the more than 40 states that have received P-EBT approval.

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