In this article, I would be telling you all you need to know about The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer in the U.S. The extent to which the damage of the deadly viral disease that has spread to most parts of the world is by far immeasurable. This resulted in the lockdown of countries as a measure to curb and contain the continual spread of the virus in other to protect its citizens therein. In the bid to protect and also make provisions for citizens during the lockdown resulted in an Act in the United States of America that brought about The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (p-ebt). This is giving out funds on electronic benefit transfer cards to families who are in need of food and other assistance like medical care and cash.
The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer
It is of facts according to records and statistics, that the United States of America have the most cases of coronavirus and the worst impact so far. A total lockdown of the country was ensued because of it and citizens were bound at home. No form of physical communication was allowed neither was any social gathering permitted this included schools, religious gatherings, malls, or parties. No one was allowed outside the confined of their home except for health and medical purposes.
The law which is the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 that brought about The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer was signed in to law by President Donald J. Trump on the 18th of March. 2020. This legislation contains several provisions related to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program like The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer and the SNAP Emergency Allotments (EA) through the FPRS. (SNAP) beneficiaries and also for the program administration in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
This bill was passed into law in other to ensure the SNAP households receive the assistance they need. Knowing the lockdown would affect a lot of families especially those who depend on assistance programs. The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer is then the state agency plans for temporary emergency standards of eligibility and levels of benefits. The Food and Nutrition Service still administers The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program. This Act provides the Secretary of Agriculture authority to approve and implement this law under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008.
About 48 states have been approved by the federal government to operate The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer. They include;
- District of Columbia.
- New Hampshire.
- New Jersey.
- New Mexico.
- New York.
- North Carolina.
- North Dakota.
- Rhode Island.
- South Carolina.
- South Dakota.
- Virgin Islands.
- West Virginia.
Electronic Benefit Transfer Card (ebt)
The electronic benefit transfer is an electronic system that allows welfare departments state in the different states in the country to issue benefits via a magnetically encoded card that allows payment by authorizing the transfer of funds from federal accounts to approved retailers’ accounts. The EBT card works similarly to a debit card. This payment is mostly done for purchases of food items that are approved by the assistance program that issued out the card to its beneficiaries.
The card can also make cash withdrawal buy only form participating ATMs and from authorized shops or stores. Using the card to buy authorized items would be seen as an act of fraud which attracts a few years in prison. The card is only meant to purchase healthy staple foods that provide the human body the necessary amount of nutrients it needs.
The P-EBT Requirements and Eligibility
The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program has its requirements to gain eligibility in other to get the benefits and assistance the program provides this is because the program is different from SNAP. The program requires that all the states in the U.S. are to provide P-EBT benefits to SNAP households and households of children who have temporarily lost access to free or reduced-price school meals due to the lockdown of schools.
The following people or households are eligible for the P-EBT benefits.
- SNAP households: these households are already beneficiaries of the SNAP benefits.
- Children who receive free or reduced-price school meals.
The program is mainly directed to these children and their households.
The P-EBT Application
If you or your household is a non-SNAP household but has an eligible child, you can become eligible for the receipts of the benefits from The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer. The person or the household has to apply for the benefits by completing an application to receive these benefits.
The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Benefits
The P-EBT benefits are based on the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program reimbursement rates. The benefits are food benefits being issued into the P-EBT cards to the children (eligible ones) in the household. The benefits are usually the same amount of the breakfast and lunch school meals the child receives in a different state.
It takes about three to four weeks for the eligible applicant to receive the benefits on a P-EBT card from the program. The household to receive this card would be contacted by the state agency and be told how to activate the card for use. The benefits would be loaded in these cards when due on a monthly bases but this is totally dependent on the state.
If there is more than one child in the household who are eligible and are to receive the benefits of the P-EBT program, the program would not issue out several cards, instead, it would issue out a single card for all the children receiving the benefits to the head of that household.
The duration of the emergency program is dependent on the time length of the shutdown of schools and it may be different for all the states partaking in this emergency program. The benefits of the program would be available until schools reopen in the individual states.