Families may be eligible for Pandemic-EBT due to COVID-19

WEST COLUMBIA, SC -- The S.C. Department of Social Services (DSS) has announced that South Carolina has received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to implement a Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) program, providing a one-time benefit to help supplement family food costs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and prolonged school closures.

 

As many as 467,000 K-12 students in South Carolina who qualify for free or reduced-price meals are expected to receive this benefit.  To be eligible for this one-time benefit, K-12 students must be in either the free or reduced-price meals program under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) OR in a K-12 school district that qualifies for CEP (Community eligibility Program). Lexington Two participates in the NSLP, but Lexington Two does not qualify district-wide to participate in the CEP.  

 

Lexington Two parents who need a form as proof of their free or reduced meal program participation, or have other questions, may call the Food Service office at (803) 739-8381. 

 

Food purchasing with the P-EBT benefit is subject to the same restrictions as EBT cards issued for SNAP recipients and cards may be used at any store that accepts SNAP. Recipients will have one full year to use the benefit before it expires, and receipt of P-EBT does not preclude participation in summer feeding programs or other community-based food programs for children and families.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

What is Pandemic EBT (P-EBT)?

P-EBT is a one-time benefit to help supplement family food costs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and prolonged school closures. 

 

Who is eligible for P-EBT?

To be eligible for this one-time benefit, K-12 students must be in either the free or reduced-price meals program under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) OR in a K-12 school district that qualifies for CEP (Community eligibility Program). Lexington Two participates in the NSLP, so students who receive free or reduced benefits are eligible.  Lexington Two does not qualify district wide under federal guidelines to participate in the CEPThe P-EBT card and food benefit cannot be transferred to anyone else or used by someone outside your household.

 

If my household already receives SNAP, how and when will the P-EBT benefit be issued?

Current SNAP households with child(ren) enrolled in a free or reduced-price meals program as of March 13, 2020 will receive their P-EBT benefit on their regular EBT card on July 7 OR on their normal monthly SNAP issuance date, whichever is later. For example, if your SNAP benefits are issued on the 3rd of the month, you will receive your SNAP allotment on July 3 and your P-EBT benefit on July 7. If your normal SNAP issuance date is the 14th, you will receive your regular SNAP allotment and your P-EBT benefit on July 14. No further action is required on your part to receive your P-EBT benefits. 

If I am not a current SNAP recipient, how and when will I receive a P-EBT benefit?

For households not participating in SNAP whose child(ren) were enrolled in a free or reduced-price meals program or attending a CEP school as of March 13, 2020, a P-EBT card will be mailed to the address on file with your child’s school district between July 20  and July 24. No further action is required on your part to receive your P-EBT benefit.

 

DSS has established a portal for families to correct their addresses for PEBT benefits --

https://benefitsportal.dss.sc.gov/#/pebt/addressverification . This will not change addresses in PowerSchool or your school nutrition software, but will ensure that families receive the P-EBT benefit. Families with questions that cannot be answered at the district level may email PETBenefits@dss.sc.gov or PEBT@ed.sc.gov

 

What P-EBT benefit amount will I receive?

The benefit amount for each child is based on a daily rate of $5.70, multiplied by the average number of days school was canceled. For South Carolina, this equates to 58 days (March 16 – June 3). At $5.70 per day, each child who was enrolled in a free or reduced-price meals program in March will receive $330. 

 

What if an eligible P-EBT household is not a SNAP recipient and does not want to participate in the P-EBT program?

If an eligible household receives a P-EBT card and does not want to participate in the program, the household should destroy the P-EBT card. The P-EBT card and food benefit cannot be transferred to anyone else or used by someone outside your household.

 

What should I do if I am eligible, but do not receive my P-EBT benefit?

Please allow the state to fully issue all P-EBT benefits by August 15, before inquiring about your benefit status. If you have not received your benefit by August 15, please email PEBTBenefits@dss.sc.gov. Please do not call your local DSS county office with questions about P-EBT.

 

Do P-EBT benefits replace summer feeding programs or other community feeding programs for children and families?

No, the P-EBT benefit is provided in addition to other meal programs; it does not replace them. Lexington Two will continue to provide summer meals through at least mid-August by bus delivery and at four school sites. Get the details here: https://www.lex2.org/apps/news/article/1186422