Eligible families have until June 30 to request additional SNAP benefits
6/24/2020 11:30:08 AM
More than 200,000 families have already applied for or received additional food assistance benefits under a limited-time program that aims to ensure children don’t go hungry during the time they are not in school and receiving school lunch. However, the Minnesota Department of Human Services says that up to 150,000 more families may still be eligible to apply and is encouraging them to do so before the deadline of June 30.
“Many families struggle with feeding their children in the summer, when they are not receiving free or reduced-price lunches at school,” said Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead. “Supplementing families’ food budgets by providing additional help to purchase healthy foods for school children is the aim of this program. We urge families to take advantage of this opportunity by applying for the benefit by the June 30 deadline.”
In partnership with the state Department of Education and the nonprofit organization Code for America, DHS is urging families with school children who qualify for the federal free and reduced-price meal program to apply for Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer, also referred to as P-EBT, online at www.mn.p-ebt.org.
“With the economic pressures of the pandemic, families are having a more difficult time than ever before,” said Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker. “The P-EBT program can help families purchase groceries to bridge that gap between the school year and the summer months. With the deadline fast approaching, we are urging families to apply for this additional support as soon as possible.”
DHS is issuing benefits in a lump sum of $325 per child to purchase food within a year of the date issued. Qualifying families with children receiving free or reduced-price meals, SNAP or MFIP benefits received these benefits automatically on their existing EBT cards in late May. Families can check their EBT card balance at ebtedge.com.
Families who were receiving free or reduced meals for the 2019-2020 school year but who were not also receiving SNAP or MFIP benefits need to sign up for a benefits card, known as a P-EBT card, to receive these additional funds.
Individuals in need of translation assistance can call the DHS P-EBT hotline at either 651-431-4050 or 800-657-3698, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Additional information also can be found online in P-EBT frequently asked questions and in a series of fliers in Somali, Russian, Spanish and Hmong posted online. The application is now available in these languages as well.
In addition to using EBT cards at traditional grocery retailers people who use SNAP can use their EBT cards to purchase groceries online. While Walmart and Amazon are the only online retailers approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for SNAP purchases available in Minnesota at this time, DHS is encouraging other retailers to seek approval from the USDA so that SNAP recipients have more options to buy food safely.
Families in need of additional assistance accessing healthy foods are urged to contact their county or tribal human services office or the Minnesota Food Helpline at 888-711-1151 or www.hungersolutions.org.