340,000 Mississippi children to benefit from latest P-EBT payments

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Over 340,000 Mississippi children will benefit from the distribution of approximately $246 million in P-EBT benefits from the Mississippi Department of Education and the Mississippi Department of Human Services. 

The agencies explained Monday that the benefits will be administered by late October 2021, through two lump-sum payments: first for Summer 2021 and second for the 2020-21 school year.

The summer payment is designed to meet the nutrition needs of children throughout the summer months, while school lunches were not an option. The school year P-EBT benefits are meant to help families with additional food costs that their household may have experienced due to school closures during the last school year.

The agencies provided the following breakdown of eligibility: 

The Summer 2021 payment will be provided to each child in the state who was eligible to receive free or reduced-price lunch under the National School Lunch Program during the 2020-21 school year. Each eligible child will receive a payment of $375. Approximately 345,000 school children in Mississippi will receive the summer P-EBT benefit.  

For the 2020-2021 school year, approximately 185,000 Mississippi students will receive P-EBT benefits because they were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch and attended a school that had a predominately hybrid or virtual schedule for at least one month of the 2020-21 school year. The amount that children eligible for 2020-21 school year P-EBT benefits will receive will depend on their school’s reported learning schedule during that year. The total benefit of the program is estimated to be $116 million.   

The amount that children eligible for 2020-21 school year P-EBT benefits will receive will depend on their school’s reported schedule during that school year. Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT), which provides assistance to families of children eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), whose school’s predominant learning mode was either virtual or hybrid.  

Each child’s eligibility and amount for School Year 2020-21 P-EBT benefits was determined for each month of that school year (August 2020-May 2021) using information received from school districts about their school schedules. 

To review the benefit amount eligible children in your district or school will receive for the 2020-21 school year, please find your school on the P-EBT School list available here: https://www.mdhs.ms.gov/pandemic-ebt-p-ebt/p-ebt-schools-2/

Benefits will be issued to eligible children at the address provided by the Mississippi Department of Education.

Based on USDA regulations, P-EBT funds can purchase any food for the household, such as:

  • Fruits and vegetables;
  • Meat, poultry, and fish;
  • Dairy products;
  • Bread and cereals;
  • Other foods such as snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages; and
  • Seeds and plants, which produce food for the household to eat.

Households CANNOT use P-EBT benefits to buy:

  • Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, or tobacco
  • Vitamins, medicines, and supplements. If an item has a Supplement Facts label, it is considered a supplement and is not eligible for SNAP purchase.
  • Live animals (except shellfish, fish removed from water, and animals slaughtered prior to pick-up from the store).
  • Foods that are hot at the point of sale
  • Any nonfood items such as:
  • Pet foods
  • Cleaning supplies, paper products, and other household supplies.
  • Hygiene items, cosmetics

“This second round of P-EBT benefits is part of our continued service to Mississippi families and children whose normal learning environment was disrupted by the pandemic,” MDHS Executive Director Robert G. “Bob,” Anderson said. “The Mississippi Department of Human Services is providing this tangible help to Mississippi children to create hope for tomorrow.”

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