COLUMBUS, Ohio — During his COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine confirmed that the state has been approved by the USDA to operate its Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) plan to help benefit students across the state who were counting on a hot, nutritious meal while school was in session.
The Pandemic EBT program was included in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020, which provides assistance to families of children eligible for free or reduced-price meals dealing with school closures.
The approval will allow the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services to distribute SNAP benefits to 850,000 students across Ohio who relied on free or reduced-price meal programs when school was in session. The benefits will be mailed directly to students, and families do not need to apply to be eligible.
Families will receive approximately $300 to purchase healthy and nutritious foods to feed their children. These benefits amount to more than $250 million that will go to the state's grocery stores and other eligible retailers.
Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-Cleveland), who helped in the creation of the EBT in the House of Representatives, also expressed appreciation for the USDA decision on Tuesday.
"Ohio will now be able to provide an EBT card with the value of missed school meals to families with children who have lost access to free and reduced priced meals due to school closures," she tweeted.
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