BOSTON – Massachusetts received federal approval to continue providing Pandemic EBT benefits to families through summer 2021. The Department of Transitional Assistance estimates this will provide continued financial assistance for the families of more than 600,000 school-age children and 88,000 children under six in households that get SNAP benefits to buy food as Massachusetts families recover from the economic impact of the pandemic.
P-EBT is a federal program, jointly administered by DTA and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, that promotes increased food security for families whose children receive free or reduced-price school meals through the United States Department of Agriculture’s National School Lunch Program. The program covers the cost of school meals for students in remote or hybrid learning environments during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 recently allowed states to continue providing P-EBT for families through summer 2021.
In Massachusetts, all students who have received P-EBT will receive a total of $375 in P-EBT benefits in two equal payments of $187.50 this summer. The first payment will be issued on July 1 and the second payment will be issued on August 1. Students who graduated in 2020 or have moved out of Massachusetts will not receive P-EBT benefits in the summer.
Families who receive SNAP and have received P-EBT for their children under six years old will also receive two summer P-EBT payments of $187.50, totaling $375 for the summer. Payments for these children will be made on July 25 and August 25.
DTA estimates that P-EBT is expected to bring more than $280 million into the Commonwealth’s economy this summer, providing nearly $250 million for more than 600,000 school-aged children and $33 million for approximately 88,000 SNAP-enrolled children under the age of six.
Massachusetts initially launched its P-EBT program in April 2020 when schools closed due to COVID-19, was one of a limited number of states to receive federal approval for September P-EBT benefits and was the first state in the nation to receive approval to continue P-EBT through school year 2020-2021. In March 2021, the program was extended to provide P-EBT benefits for children in child care.