The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), in coordination with the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE), received approval from the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service (USDA FNS) to issue Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) benefits to eligible children for the 2022-2023 school year (SY), child care and summer.
Louisiana, one of just over half of the states authorized so far to issue P-EBT for the current school year, will begin disbursing payments to eligible households with children in grades K-12 in early May, with child care and summer benefit issuances following in late summer. This is the fourth year Louisiana has issued P-EBT benefits. Since 2020, DCFS has issued more than $1.14 Billion in P-EBT benefits to more than 1.2 Million children.
Benefits are being issued in a tiered approach (see tiers in the table below) for SY P-EBT based on the number of days a child missed due to COVID per month at a rate of $8.18 per day. Children who previously received P-EBT benefits will have SY 2022-23 and Summer P-EBT benefits issued to their existing P-EBT cards. A P-EBT card will be mailed to children who were not eligible for P-EBT benefits during the last round of issuances but are now eligible for SY 2023 and summer benefits. All Child Care P-EBT benefits will be issued to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) card of the eligible child’s household.
For Summer P-EBT, a single lump sum payment of $120 will be distributed around the end of the summer to each child who was eligible for P-EBT during the last month of SY 2022-23. In accordance with federal guidelines, children in child care, homeschool, and virtual schools that do not participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) will not qualify for Summer 2023 benefits.
“Worrying about how to feed your children is a burden that is all too real to many Louisiana families. P-EBT benefits go a long way to supporting families, and we’re pleased to issue these benefits again this year, but we know it doesn’t cover the entire food need. That’s why we’re advising parents and other neighbors to call 211 to find out about SNAP, WIC, food pantries and other resources that can really make a difference for families and their children,” said DCFS Secretary Terri Ricks.
In most cases, there is no P-EBT application process for parents/guardians. Schools will report to DCFS which students meet the criteria for eligibility. Parents/guardians of eligible homeschooled and virtual school students must complete an application with their local public school or approved virtual school by Thursday, May 11, 2023. See additional eligibility and application requirements below.
A child in kindergarten through 12th grade is eligible for SY 2022-23 P-EBT benefits if two conditions are met:
He or she has an approved application for free or reduced-price meals under the NSLP. This includes any student in a school that provides free meals to all students (under a special rule called “Community Eligibility Provision (CEP)”), and
The child does not receive free or reduced-price meals at the school because the school is closed or has been operating with reduced attendance or hours for at least 5 consecutive days in the current school year. Once the minimum 5 consecutive day threshold is met for a school, children at that school are eligible to receive P-EBT benefits for closures, reductions in hours or quarantines/absences due to COVID-19.
A student who has applied and been approved by the Louisiana Department of Education to attend a Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) Approved Home Study Program or who is attending a non-NSLP-participating virtual school is eligible for SY 2022-23 P-EBT benefits if the child meets all three of these requirements:
The child previously attended an NSLP-participating school but withdrew after the start of the COVID health emergency due to concerns about COVID, or the child enrolled in kindergarten as a virtual or homeschool student in school year 2020-2021 or later,
The child is not attending an NSLP-participating school due to concerns about COVID, and
The child would have received free or reduced-price meals at their NSLP school if not for their virtual or homeschooled status.
In addition to the eligibility requirements above, parents/guardians of eligible homeschooled and virtual students must complete an application for P-EBT by Thursday, May 11, 2023. Virtual school students will apply with their BESE-approved virtual school. Homeschooled students will apply with their local public school. Homeschooled and virtual school students must provide proof of income eligibility for free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the name of the child’s previous NSLP-participating school. Homeschooled students must also provide a copy of their BESE-Approved Home Study approval letter. The school will validate the student’s previous enrollment using prior school enrollment records.
A child under the age of 6 who is enrolled in a covered childcare facility is eligible for P-EBT if:
The child is a member of a household that is enrolled in SNAP in the benefit month,
The child is enrolled in a covered childcare facility (Under the Families First Coronvirus Response Act, USDA deems all children under the age of 6 to be enrolled in a covered childcare facility), and
During a public health emergency designation, the child’s childcare facility is closed or is operating with reduced attendance or hours for at least 5 consecutive days, resulting in the child’s inability to attend the facility; or, one or more schools in the area of the facility, or in the area of the child’s residence, is closed or is operating with reduced attendance or hours.
P-EBT benefits may be used to purchase SNAP-eligible food items at stores that accept EBT cards. The benefits are available for 9 months from the issue date or from the last purchase and are non-transferable.
Receiving P-EBT benefits will not affect a student’s or the family’s immigration status, as the public charge rule does not apply to P-EBT funds.
For more information about P-EBT eligibility and how to use P-EBT benefits, visit www.pebt-la.org.