The Erie County Department of Social Services (“ECDSS) has announced that the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (“ODTA”)will be issuing a Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (“EBT”) food benefit to all New York State households with school-aged children who receive free or reduced-price lunches under the National School Lunch Act. This action was taken as part of the Families First Corona Virus Response Act of 2020.
Families with eligible children will automatically receive Pandemic-EBT (“P-EBT”) benefits for each eligible child for the period that schools were closed due to COVID-19. There is no application required to receive these benefits. OTDA will use information from local Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”), Temporary Assistance (“TA”), and Medicaid rosters used for the National School Lunch Program (“NSLP”) direct certification process, and eligibility rosters from school districts and schools participating in the NSLP to determine eligibility for these benefits. P-EBT benefits will be issued directly by OTDA and local Departments of Social Services have no responsibility for their administration. Parents of eligible children who do not currently receive SNAP, TA, or Medicaid will receive notices beginning in mid-June about the P-EBT benefit.
The monthly P-EBT food benefit for each eligible child has been calculated, based on the number of days schools were closed during the months for which the benefits are being issued, as follows:
- March – $68.00
- April – $125.00
- May – $119.00
- June – $108.00
The maximum benefit per child will be $420. P-EBT benefits will be issued in three waves:
- First wave – children aged 5-18 who were active in SNAP and TA households as of March 2020. Benefits will be made available to this cohort on a staggered basis in late May and late June.
- Second wave – Children and young adults active in Medicaid-only cases who were directly certified for NSLP based on receipt of Medicaid. Benefits will all be made available to this cohort on a staggered schedule in late June.
- Third Wave – Children and young adults not included in the first two payment cohorts:
o Children ages 3-4 who may be participating in NSLP FRPMs in pre-kindergarten programs and in receipt of SNAP or TA;
o Young adults with disabilities who are ages 19-21, still in school and receiving FRPMs, and in receipt of SNAP or TA; and,
o All other children and young adults receiving FRPMs and participating in the NSLP. These are children who may have been certified for eligibility by their school or school district, or who attend school in a Community Eligibility Provision (“CEP”) district or school where all children receive FRPMs.
o Benefits will all be made available to this cohort on a rolling issuance schedule, as school district rosters are received and processed, beginning in early July and concluding no later than August 31, 2020.
P-EBT benefits are not SNAP benefits. However, P-EBT benefits are subject to the same purchase and use restrictions as SNAP benefits. They are intended to be used to purchase food for the household of the children that received them and may only be used to purchase the same food items that purchased with SNAP benefits.