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DHSS Press Release

Molly Magarik, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498
Email: Jill.Fredel@delaware.gov

DPH Media Contact:
Mary Fenimore
Email: DPHMedia@Delaware.gov

Date:March 2, 2022


Eligible Families Will Be Reimbursed for Cost of Meals That Would Have Been Available in Schools

NEW CASTLE (March 2, 2022) - Delaware households with children affected by school closures or reduced in-person hours or attendance caused by COVID-19 will receive emergency food assistance benefits under the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program. Eligible households will receive P-EBT benefits for each school day that their child did not receive meals at school during the current school year because of a COVID-related reason.

The State's Division of Social Services, collaborating with the State's Department of Education, will issue P-EBT benefits beginning Thursday, March 3. Benefits will be available on recipients' EBT cards beginning Friday, March 4. The dates that benefits will be issued to individual households depend on when the Division of Social Services receives eligibility and attendance data from each school. Some households may experience a delay in receiving benefits, and benefits may become available within two or more weeks from the monthly issuance date.

"While Delaware schools have operated in person for the vast majority of the school year, we know that the Delta and Omicron surges, in particular, did impact in-person learning," said Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Secretary Molly Magarik. "Today, the transmission of COVID-19 is significantly reduced across our state, but we are still seeing cases in people of all ages, including students. When vulnerable students miss school for any COVID-related reason, that impacts their access to free or reduced-price meals. This temporary assistance will help affected families continue to provide a nutritious diet, which is essential to their children's health and, in turn, strengthens their children's ability to learn."

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 (PL 116-127), as amended by the Continuing Appropriations Act 2021 and Other Extensions Act (PL 116-159), the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 (PL 116-260), and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (PL 117-2) allows P-EBT to be extended through the 2021-2022 school year. Delaware will issue P-EBT benefits for August 2021 through June 2022 using the following schedule:

P-EBT benefit month Date benefits will be available on EBT cards beginning
August 2021 & September 2021 March 4, 2022
October 2021 & November 2021 April 8, 2022
December 2021 & January 2022 May 6, 2022
February 2022 & March 2022 June 3, 2022
April 2022 & May 2022 July 1, 2022
June 2022 July 15, 2022

Children enrolled in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade at a Delaware school are eligible for P-EBT benefits for the 2021-2022 school year if two conditions are met:

Households will receive $7.10 for each school day that their child did not receive meals at school because the school was closed or the child had an excused absence or attended school virtually due to a COVID-related reason. The P-EBT benefit amount equals the federal reimbursement rate for breakfast, lunch, and a snack of $7.10 per child per eligible school day. Households will receive P-EBT benefits for all eligible children in their home in monthly issuances. Households will not receive P-EBT for the days that their children attended school in-person and received meals at school or for absent days that are not due to COVID.

P-EBT benefits may be used to purchase food at stores that accept SNAP EBT cards. SNAP households will have P-EBT benefits loaded to their existing SNAP EBT cards. Households that do not receive SNAP will have P-EBT benefits loaded to the P-EBT card that was sent to them in a previous school year. Newly eligible non-SNAP households will receive a P-EBT card in the mail along with details on how to use the card.

Eligible households will receive written notification in the mail regarding P-EBT benefits for the 2021-2022 school year. P-EBT eligibility is based on information received from Delaware schools.

Please contact the Division of Social Services at 1-866-843-7212 if you have questions about Delaware's P-EBT program. Up-to-date P-EBT information can be found on Delaware's P-EBT website.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.