The Hawaii Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) announced that there will be a second round of Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Program (P-EBT) benefits allocated to children who qualify for free or reduced-price school meals during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the beginning of the summer, during the first round of P-EBT, DHS provided more than 93,500 eligible students with $33,437,250 in food assistance support.
Yesterday, the federal government approved issuance of a second round of P-EBT for kindergarten to 12th grade students enrolled in schools operating a distance learning model.
"Ensuring that children in need have access to nutritious meals remains a top priority," shared Cathy Betts, Director of the Department of Human Services. "As families navigate the challenges of work, remote learning, and caring for their ohana, we hope these additional benefits will relieve some of the financial stressors of accessing healthy and nutritious meals.
Student's families need to know there is a tight turnaround to allocate these benefits, according to federal rules attached to the program.
- Ensure that your child's school has the correct mailing address NO LATER THAN September 22, 2020.
- If your child is in need and is NOT enrolled in the Free and Reduced-Price Lunch Program, (and you would like for them to receive P-EBT benefits) please apply NO LATER THAN September 21, 2020 via EZMealApp.com.
HIDOE is working to identify all of the eligible children throughout the state and providing DHS with the addresses, so they can receive benefits in a timely manner.
"Many students rely on school meals as their primary source of daily intake. With the majority of students participating in distance learning during the first quarter, it's important to make sure that families have the resources they need to provide well-balanced and nutritious meals to their children so that they can coninue to learn and thrive," said Superintendent Christina Kishimoto. "We are pleased to be working with the Department of Human Services to provide financial relief for food assistance to over 93,000 students and their families during this time of economic uncertainty."
Eligible families can receive up to the following amount for each child enrolled in school:
- August 2020: $126
- September 2020: $150
- Maximum for the 2-month period of school year 2020-21: $286
To learn more about the NSLP and applying for free or reduced-price meals, click here.
The Hawaii P-EBT benefits will be loaded on the existing Kokua EBT and Hawaii P-EBT card accounts beginning September 29, 2020. New Hawaii P-EBT accounts will have their cards mailed beginning September 29, 2020.
DHS will continue to work with federal partners to provide assistance to Hawaii's families in need. To apply for SNAP and financial assistance, visit humanservices.hawaii.gov.
For more information, see FAQs here.