DHS Approved to Issue P-EBT Benefits, with RIDE Support for the 2022-23 Academic Year

Published on Wednesday, March 08, 2023

P-EBT benefits to be issued for the 2022 - 2023 school year; expands pool of eligible students

CRANSTON, RI – The RI Department of Human Services (DHS) and the RI Department of Education (RIDE) have received USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) approval to issue Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) benefits to eligible children for the 2022-2023 academic year. RI is one of only twelve States with approval to implement the P-EBT program in the current school year. Beginning on March 7, 2023, P-EBT benefits will be issued through May 11, 2023, in alignment with federal changes to help provide healthy and nutritious meals to children who may have missed school meals due to COVID-19.

Pandemic EBT is a special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit intended to help children who – due to COVID —may have missed free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), which is also a basis for eligibility. Like last year, P-EBT eligible groups include school age children and children under age 6 receiving SNAP benefits.  New this year, students in non-NSLP participating virtual schools and homeschooled children whose learning status is a result of concerns related to COVID may be eligible for P-EBT benefits. This group will need to complete an application and may need to submit income information for an eligibility determination.

“We have an opportunity to continue providing important relief to families and their children who may have missed school meals because of Covid,” said DHS Acting Director Kimberly Merolla-Brito. “Providing access to healthy and nutritious food through P-EBT will have a meaningful impact for Rhode Island children who rely on school meals for their nutritional needs and development.”

“Hunger does not take a break when a child is out of school,” said Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green. “Through P-EBT benefits, we can ensure Rhode Island children most in need have access to healthy, nutritious meals. We thank school leaders for assisting in getting the word out about this important program and encourage eligible families to apply. Together, we will fight hunger and help our children reach their fullest potential.” 

P-EBT distribution methods vary between the different student groups. Families with eligible children do not have to take any action to receive these benefits unless they have children that are part of the newly eligible groups. Importantly, the daily rate of $8.18 per child for every school day missed due to Covid is consistent across all ages and groups.  The benefit amount and eligibility for each group is determined using the following criteria:

School Age Children:  

  • Student is eligible for free or reduced lunch through NSLP
  • The student missed a school day, and the school marked the absence as Covid related

Children Under Age 6 receiving SNAP:

  • Child is under age 6 and received SNAP during a benefit month in the academic year
  • Benefits are issued retroactively in two total lump sum issuances for the first and second half of a school year

Children Homeschooled or in Non-NSLP Virtual School Due to Covid

Families must complete the application available.

  1. Documentation will be needed to confirm the child would have received free lunch through NSLP
  2. Benefits are issued in one lump sum payment for the amount of school days in the 2022 – 2023 school year, up until May 11, 2023
  3. Families have until July 31, 2023, to submit an application in order to be considered for benefits

Notices will be mailed to eligible families to notify them if they will receive P-EBT benefits for their child during the current school year.  For families that received benefits on a P-EBT card the previous year, benefits will be issued on the same card. Children who did not receive P-EBT benefits last year and are eligible for the first time this year will have a P-EBT card – in the child’s name -- mailed to them at the address on file at their school. Children in SNAP households who are eligible for P-EBT benefits will have benefits issued to their household’s SNAP-EBT card.

Parents may receive more than one P-EBT card if there is more than one eligible school age child in their household. United Way’s 211 is available to answer general questions families may have about P-EBT benefits.  

DHS will be submitting a plan for Summer P-EBT benefits to the Food and Nutrition Service and will announce the details of that plan at a later date. Per Federal guidelines, no P-EBT issuances can be made beyond September, 30, 2023.

More information about P-EBT for the current school year is available online in the FAQ.

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