Maui News

The state has prepared a summer program that will allow children who qualify for free or low-cost school meals to receive benefits to help buy food.

The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Program is open to students who, since the last day of the 2020-21 school year, meet one of three criteria:

• Are enrolled in free or discounted school meals at a school participating in the National School Lunch Program. This includes high school seniors.

• Are enrolled in a school that offers free meals to all students through the Community Qualification Service or other provision. For a list of schools, see www.hawaiipublicschools.org/TeachingAndLearning/HealthAndNutrition/StudentHealthResources/Pages/CEP.aspx.

• Apply for free or discounted school meals by August 2 and be considered eligible and registered for free or discounted meals at a school participating in the National School Lunch Program.

Eligible students will release their benefits into their account which is accessible via a Hawaii P-EBT card (white in bold) or a Kokua EBT card, according to a press release from the Department of State Human Services Friday. Newly qualified students who have not received a card for the 2020-21 school year will be posted one. New families in the program to whom a card is sent will receive one on behalf of each qualified student.

Children under the age of 6 will be given their benefits to their families Existing Supplementary Food Assistance Program or SNAP.

The benefits of P-EBT can be used to purchase acceptable foods from SNAP, such as foods, intermediates and seeds or plants that will produce food. They may not be used to purchase alcohol, tobacco products, vitamins, live animals, prepared foods or any non-food household items. For a list of acceptable foods, visit www.fns .usda.gov/snap/suitable food items. Hawaii P-EBT cards can also be used in the Da Bux program (see dabux.org) and in participating farmer markets.

Each student will receive $ 438 in benefits, with the first $ 219 split charged to the account last week and the second $ 219 split available on August 10th.

Families do not need to apply for benefits. Eligible children are automatically registered through verification depending on their age.

Families whose children are not enrolled in the free and discounted school lunch program at a State Department school and who wish to receive P-EBT benefits must apply through EZMealApp.com by 2 August . Those with children attending the National Card Participate in the school lunch program or private school school contact their school.

For more information, call (888) 975-PEBT (7328) or email hi.pebt@dhs.hawaii.gov.

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