By Madlynn Ruble
Colorado Department of Human Services
The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS), in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), is pleased to announce that Coloradans with school-enrolled children will begin to receive food benefits through the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program. This effort will help support Colorado’s families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 360,000 Colorado children are eligible for P-EBT benefits, which will reimburse families for the free and reduced-price meals that students missed while schools were closed in March, April and May because of COVID-19.
Families who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also known as SNAP or food stamps) and whose children attend a school that participates in the National School Lunch Program, can expect to have benefits automatically loaded onto their EBT cards between July 22 and July 31. Eligible families who don’t receive an automatic payment will need to apply for P-EBT funds.
“We know many Colorado families are struggling to pay bills and feed their children and this is one way we can help provide access to nutritious food and meet the needs of Coloradans during this difficult time,” said CDHS Food and Energy Assistance Director Karla Maraccini. “When used in conjunction with grab-and-go meals, these P-EBT benefits will be a great tool in ensuring Colorado’s children receive healthy meals.”
The P-EBT program is designed to reimburse households for meals missed during school closures for those who are enrolled in or eligible for the Free and Reduced Price Lunch Program (FRLP). Benefits are calculated in the amount of $5.70 per student per day of school closure. Households with students who are already enrolled in FRLP will receive a lump sum of $279 per eligible child (49 days of closure at $5.70 a day). A child newly eligible but not previously enrolled will receive the appropriate amount for the days they are determined eligible for P-EBT.
Eligible families include those with children in preschool, early childhood education and pre-K through grade 12 who are enrolled in a school that participates in the NSLP. This includes public, private and charter schools. Students who attend some online schools are also eligible, as are special needs students aged 18 to 22.
Some families may need to apply for P-EBT benefits and the application will be made available in the last week of July on the CDHS website. Those instances can include:
• If families do not automatically receive P-EBT funds on their current EBT card or if they did not get SNAP for all three months (March, April and May), they may qualify for more P-EBT benefits and should apply.
• Eligible students who were not receiving food assistance in March, April and May will need to apply for the P-EBT benefit.
• If families can’t find or don’t have their EBT card, they will need to submit an application and then request a new card at PEBT2020@state.co.us. In this email, they will need to include the applicant’s name, date of birth, mailing address, phone number, State Issued ID Number and P-EBT application reference number.
All applicants will need their student’s State Issued ID number (also referred to as a SASID), which should have been provided to them by their school or school district.
In addition to supporting healthy and wholesome meals for Colorado’s eligible school-age children, P-EBT is expected to bring more than $110 million of federal money into the state’s economy through food retailers.
P-EBT was created under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) as an important opportunity to provide nutritional resources to families who are losing or lost access to free or reduced-priced school meals as schools across Colorado closed in response to COVID-19.
More information can be found at www.colorado.gov/cdhs/p-ebt.