Food assistance for children extended through end of school year


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COLUMBUS – The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) has received approval to provide additional food benefits for Ohio children through the end of the school year.

The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) payments help children who normally receive free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program but learned remotely (or a hybrid of remote and in-person learning) during the school year, due to the COVID-19 emergency.

“Because accessing nutritious food is critical during the pandemic, we are thrilled to help Ohio families alleviate a major source of stress during these unprecedented times,” said ODJFS Director Kimberly Henderson.

The first round of P-EBT funding last spring was distributed to approximately 870,000 children, totaling about $260 million. The second round, issued in the fall, assisted approximately 510,000 children, totaling about $59 million, based on the number of consecutive days of remote learning.

When possible, P-EBT benefits are added to the existing Ohio Direction cards of families that receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Other eligible families will receive a P-EBT card with the benefit already added. No application is needed.

Individuals may qualify for SNAP if their household’s gross monthly income is at or under 130% of the federal poverty guidelines. Ohioans can apply at benefits.ohio.gov. Benefits can be used to buy most food products, with the exception of alcoholic beverages, vitamins and/or medicines, and hot food made to be eaten immediately, including prepared food from grocery stores and restaurants.

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