When schools were closed in March from COVID-19, the state of Texas was approved to offer more than $1 billion in food benefits to families with children that lost access to free or discounted school meals.
Families with students who received free or discounted lunches will get a $285 Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT). Because Houston ISD has so many low-income students that qualify for food benefits, it’s offered to every student, no matter the income level. However, you may need to apply to receive this aid.
According to a release on the HISD website, “Families who received SNAP benefits for March 2020 and have children 5-18 years old as of May 17, 2020, do not need to apply for those children. These families will receive P-EBT benefits on their current Lone Star Card by May 22. No further action is required.”
However, “Families with children up to 21 years old who are certified to receive free or reduced-price meals during the 2019-2020 school year need to apply for P-EBT. This includes families who received SNAP benefits for March 2020 and have children under 5 and between 19 and 21. These families will need to apply for P-EBT benefits online.”
Jarad Davis, HISD’s Directory for Wrap Around Services, told KPRC-2 Houston, ““If you have a student who goes to an HISD school, you are eligible. Why? Because of a provision that we have, all HISD students receive free lunch. Regardless of your income, you’re eligible for this benefit. We don’t want anything to get in the way of you taking advantage of this benefit.”
Keep in mind, not every Greater Houston-area school district offers free or discounted breakfast and lunches on a district-wide basis, so if your student doesn’t attend an HISD school, it’s possible that you don’t qualify for this aid depending on your income level. However, if your kid goes to a school where free or reduced-price lunches are available to everyone, then you likely qualify for this benefit regardless of your income.
How to Apply for Food Benefits
To receive your $285 food benefit per qualifying child, you have to apply online on the YourTexasBenefits website by June 30, 2020. You’ll be required to submit your kid’s student ID number from their school as well as their Social Security Number. If you need help filling out the P-EBT application, please contact is 833-613-6220.
A P-EBT card will be sent to your home in the mail, and you’ll have a year to use it.
Again, if your child is already on SNAP, you don’t need to apply as the benefit should already load onto your card.