Pandemic EBT benefits roll out across New York

Families across New York who lost access to free or reduced-price school meals as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic will soon start to receive additional food assistance.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 authorized the rollout of the Pandemic-EBT program to states that applied. New York’s application was accepted in May, which will result in $880 million in benefits for the families of more than 2 million children who receive free or reduced-price meals at school. Families can receive up to $420 per child, which represents the cumulative meal costs for the amount of missed school days this year due to COVID-19.

PDF: Download a flyer that explains Pandemic-EBT (English & Spanish)

The state will roll out these benefits in three phases, detailed below:

Families will either see additional funds flow onto their existing EBT cards if they are already enrolled in SNAP or Medicaid. Families will be mailed new cards if they aren’t already receiving any public benefits, but still receive free or reduced-price meals at school.

The program also includes pre-K students, young adults with disabilities (ages 19-21) and families regardless of their immigration status. No application is necessary — families will automatically receive these funds.

The state’s Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) is managing the program, and has put together a useful FAQ.

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