(WKBN) — The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) is a temporary program under federal law to help families and schools affected by COVID-19.

For the 2022-2023 school year, some schools and children may be eligible to receive P-EBT benefits when COVID-19 disrupts normal classes.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there are nine states approved to operate the program during this school year, including Alabama, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin.

According to the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, preschool through 12th-grade students within qualifying school buildings who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals may be eligible for P-EBT benefits.

How does a school qualify for P-EBT?

Due to COVID-19 and for at least five consecutive days, a school must be closed, operating remote learning, operating with reduced attendance or hours (including hybrid schedules) or have at least one student sick with COVID-19 or quarantined.

COVID-19 sick days and quarantine days are based on your child’s school policy for identifying COVID-19 sick days and whether a child has to quarantine and remain home.

Once the school P-EBT criteria have been met, the school must look at each child’s potential eligibility for P-EBT.

How does a child qualify for P-EBT?

First, the child must be attending a qualifying school.

A child who qualifies for free or reduced-priced meals may receive P-EBT benefits for the days he or she does not attend school in person due to remote learning, sick quarantine because of COVID-19, or attends school in person but does not receive a meal at school because of reduced hours.

Children are not eligible for P-EBT benefits for days they attend school in person and receive meal(s) at school.

How much will an eligible child receive in P-EBT?

Each child will get $8.18 for each day that he/she doesn’t receive free or reduced-price meals at the school due to the school being closed, operating remote learning or operating with reduced attendance or hours due to COVID-19.

This also includes days that the child can’t attend school in person because they have to quarantine.

How do you get P-EBT?

If the child is a current SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) recipient:

  • The P-EBT benefits may be added to the account on which the child is active.
  • If the child was unable to be matched to his or her active SNAP account, you will be sent a P-EBT card in the child’s name.

If the child is not a current SNAP recipient:

  • If the child has received a P-EBT card since February 2021, benefits will be loaded to that card. If you need a replacement card, you can call 1-866-386-3071.
  • If the child has not received a P-EBT card since February 2021, you will receive a preloaded P-EBT card in the mail.
    • The card will be in the child’s name, not the parent or guardian’s name.
    • Instructions on how to activate the card will be included.
    • You must keep this new card as it will be used for any future P-EBT benefits your child is eligible for.

Each child will receive a P-EBT card. The benefits of siblings will not be grouped onto one card.

The benefits are used in the same way as SNAP benefits. You can visit https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/eligible-food-items for a list of eligible food items that can be bought with SNAP benefits.

When will you get the P-EBT?

If your child meets the P-EBT criteria, benefits for August, September, October, November and December 2022 will be issued by the end of January 2023. After January, benefits will be issued to eligible children by the end of the following month. For example, benefits for January will be issued by the end of February, and February will be issued by the end of March, etc.

Each child’s benefits will be issued on a certain day based on the first letter of their last name.

You can find out more information on P-EBT in Ohio by visiting the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services website.