Ohio Gets Green Light to Extend Food Assistance for Kids
Thursday, January 21, 2021
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A key hunger-fighting program for Ohio children is being extended through the end of the school year.
The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program was created in March to help feed children who normally receive free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program but were learning from home.
Congress extended the program Oct. 1, and Ohio had to submit a new operation plan, which was just approved.
Rachel Cahill, consultant at the Center for Community Solutions, noted some families went without the assistance for several months.
"We're talking about October, November, December, January and up until whenever kids are able to get meals in school," Cahill outlined. "So we're glad that Ohio was one of the earliest states to make it through the sort of federal gauntlet of approval that it unfortunately took."
The extension starts in February and eligible families will receive retroactive benefits in a single payment.
P-EBT benefits are added to the Ohio Direction card, which is provided to SNAP beneficiaries and can be used to purchase foods at grocery stores.
It's estimated 600,000 Ohio children will benefit from the extended P-EBT.
Cahill noted last school year, the program distributed $261 million to eligible families in the state.
"P-EBT ended up being one of the only really pandemic relief resources that reached some families including families with immigrants and families who have had trouble enrolling in SNAP," Cahill explained. "So it was a really important way to reach those families and it was about $300 per child."
An estimated one in four Ohio children is struggling with hunger, and Cahill said P-EBT is part of an "all-hands on deck" strategy to meet the need.
"We are in a desperate hunger crisis right now, and we can actually see some trends in states where, when P-EBT hit, the rate of hunger slipped down for a period of time because families had additional resources to purchase food," Cahill observed.
School meal providers also are making food available for families in need, as well as local food pantries. And the latest COVID relief package included a 15% increase to SNAP benefits through June.
Disclosure: The Center for Community Solutions contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Health Issues, Poverty Issues, and Welfare Reform. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
get more stories like this via email
LANSING, Mich. - High utility costs are a major burden for Michigan's low-income residents, and a new study says they have an impact on their health…
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A new report shows an effort by investor-owned utilities in the Sunshine State to block the growth of rooftop solar. The …
Health and Wellness
By Troy Pierson / Broadcast version by Mary Schuermann reporting for the Kent State-Ohio News Connection Collaboration. As marijuana becomes more …
SALT LAKE CITY - With rising numbers of people targeted in hate crimes and related violence, a new report analyzes the hate-crime laws in each state…
BOSTON - Educators' unions are calling on the state to support their efforts to ensure in-person learning in the fall keeps students, teachers…
HARTFORD, Conn. - In Connecticut, more than 460,000 people care for close friends or family members who can't manage on their own - and their …
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Millions of Americans soon could find eviction notices on their front doors, but New Mexico renters will not be among them - as …
Health and Wellness
CONCORD, N.H. - New Hampshire advocates for affordable healthcare access want Congress to lower prescription costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate …