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Department of Human Services extends pandemic food assistance program for second round

Officials said that the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program will provide parents with $5.86 in benefits per student.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Families in Tennessee may soon get a new card to help them buy food for their kids during the COVID-19 pandemic, during a new round of the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program.

The P-EBT program gives parents $5.86 in benefits per student for each school that children miss because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It covers days missed in July, August and September, officials said. The benefits can be used for purchases at places that accept EBT, or online with Amazon and Walmart.

Students that receive free or reduced meals at school or attend a Community Eligibility Provision school are eligible to participate in the program. They must have missed at least five consecutive days of in-person instruction.

The Tennessee Department of Human Services said that they are working with the Department of Education to identify students that qualify for the program. They are in the process of mailing P-EBT cards to families, according to a release.

Over 500,000 students received benefits during the spring, officials said. They also said that's more than half of all public-school children in Tennessee.

Parents may be able to pick up cards for the program from their students' schools.

Benefits will be issued on a new card for the second round of P-EBT, officials said. They will not be placed on families' existing cards. Families receiving benefits through the SNAP or TANF programs may be eligible for the P-EBT program.