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See how $285 is available per child to feed those in need

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is extending the application deadline for the federal Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer program to Aug. 21 to ensure eligible families have more time to apply.

This is a one-time benefit of $285 per eligible child and can be used in the same way Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food benefits pay for groceries. Eligible families include those with children who lost access to free or reduced-price school meals through the National School Lunch Program due to school closures.

Gov. Greg Abbott said the program helps ensure families continue to have access to healthy food as some schools, and subsequently school lunch programs, remain closed due to COVID-19.

He encourages eligible Texans to apply so they can continue to provide food for their families.

Eligibility Services Deputy Executive Commissioner Wayne Salter said state officials are pleased with how many families have received this benefit, but added there are still thousands of eligible families in communities that can apply for assistance.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission partnered with the Texas Department of Agriculture and the Texas Education Agency to launch the $1 billion federal program June 1 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 3 million children in Texas were certified to receive free or reduced-price meals at school during the 2019-2020 school year. To date, nearly $790 million in program funds has been issued to families, benefiting more than 2.8 million children.

Families who are eligible were notified by their school districts in May.

After completing the online application, families receive their benefits on a new Texas P-EBT card in the mail.

Families who have been denied but think they are eligible should call 833-613-6220 or send an email to AES_PEBT_Complaints@hhsc.state.tx.us with proof of free or reduced-priced meals.

Proof includes the award letter that is sent to parents when their children become eligible for the National School Lunch Program.

Visit hhs.texas.gov/pebt to learn more.

Texans in need can apply for benefits, including SNAP and Medicaid, at YourTexasBenefits.com or use the Your Texas Benefits mobile app to manage their benefits.