By Greg Bird
A new program will allot more than $300 for every McCreary County student who lost access to free or reduced price meals due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program is a financial resource for families with students who lost access to free or reduced-price school meals due to COVID-19. P-EBT provides households with an EBT card with funds (up to $313.50 per student) to spend on food at home for students. Kentucky has now been approved by USDA to provide these benefits. The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) and the Kentucky Department of Education are partnering in providing this benefit to families as quickly as possible.
Households that already receive assistance through SNAP, TANF and/or Medicaid will be automatically enrolled in the P-EBT program and will have the funds added to their existing EBT cards no later than May 28 or will be mailed a card.
All other households will be able to opt in to the program by applying at https://benefind.ky.gov/. The benefits will be awarded once confirmation that the student qualifies is completed.
According to a release from the McCreary County School District families will need the child’s student ID number, which can be accessed from your parent portal account. If you do not have access to the parent portal you can email the following representatives from the schools to obtain the number: McCreary County School District: email@example.com, McCreary Central High School: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, McCreary County Middle School firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, Pine Knot Elementary School Building 1: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, Pine Knot Elementary School Building 2: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, Whitley City Elementary or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The funds can be used to purchase fruits and vegetables, meat, poultry and fish, dairy products, breads and cereals, snack foods, non-alcoholic beverages and seeds and plants which produce food for the household to eat.
The funds cannot be used to buy beer, wine, liquor, tobacco, vitamins, medicine, live animals, prepared food for immediate consumption, hot foods or non-food items.
According to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services the funding formula used a daily rate of $5.70 per day, and multiplied that rate by the total number of days missed in March, April and May.
For more information on the P-EBT program please visit: https://chfs.ky.gov/agencies/dcbs/Pages/dcbscvres.aspx