Pandemic food assistance is still available
Published 3:18 pm Thursday, August 13, 2020
NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) is reminding parents that there’s time to apply for a program to help provide food for their children during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Families can apply for Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) benefits here until Friday, Aug. 14, at 4:30 p.m. Central Time. Applications can also be downloaded to fill out in Spanish, Somali, and Arabic languages and email to P-EBT.DHS@tn.gov.
P-EBT provides parents with $5.70 in benefits per child for each day that child qualifies. These benefits can be used to purchase food at any establishment that accepts EBT or online with Amazon and Walmart.
To be eligible, children must receive free or reduced meals at school or attend a Community Eligibility Provision school. The program is designed to replace meals lost during the months of March, April, and May due to COVID-19 school closures.
“Schools are a place for children to receive nutritious meals during the school year and unfortunately many lost access to those meals when their schools closed due to COVID-19,” said Tennessee Department of Human Services Commissioner Danielle W. Barnes. “Our P-EBT program has filled this nutritional need for nearly half of all students in the state of Tennessee and we hope to add to that total. Supporting families now will help us continue to build a thriving Tennessee.”
TDHS initially launched P-EBT on June 12 by providing the benefits to qualifying families that take part in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. These families already have an existing EBT card and P-EBT benefits were applied to those cards.
Families who do not currently receive SNAP or TANF need to apply for the program so TDHS can verify addresses and family information. Families will receive a P-EBT card in the mail after approval. Approval times can be delayed by inaccurate or incomplete information on the application so families are encouraged to double check all names and addresses to make sure they match what their children’s schools will have on file.
Individuals who need assistance completing their P-EBT application or have general questions about the program are encouraged to call the TDHS Family Assistance Service Center at 1-866-311- 4287. TDHS additionally partners with an interpreter service to provide instructional assistance to customers who call this line in their preferred language.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act authorized the U.S. Department of Agriculture to approve states for Pandemic EBT (P-EBT). Approved state agencies may operate P-EBT when a school is closed for at least five consecutive days during a public health emergency designation when the school would otherwise be in session. Tennessee is among the more than 40 states that have received P-EBT approval.
Learn more about the Tennessee Department of Human Services at www.tn.gov/humanservices.