Mississippi approved for new EBT program for families with eligible children

The USDA has approved the State of Mississippi to receive Pandemic-EBT benefits. MDHS is implementing the approved plan to support the disbursement of benefits. Payments should begin in two to three weeks.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced Mississippi has been approved to operate Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT), a new program authorized by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), signed by President Trump, which provides assistance to families of children eligible for free or reduced-price meals dealing with school closures.

Mississippi will be able to operate Pandemic EBT, a supplemental food purchasing benefit to current SNAP participants and as a new EBT benefit to other eligible households to offset the cost of meals that would have otherwise been consumed at school.

For the 2019-2020 school year, Mississippi had approximately 357,000 children eligible for free and reduced-priced lunch, or about 74% of children in participating schools.

Under FFCRA, States have the option to submit a plan to the Secretary of Agriculture for providing these benefits to SNAP and non-SNAP households with children who have temporarily lost access to free or reduced-price school meals due to pandemic-related school closures. State agencies may operate Pandemic EBT when a school is closed for at least five consecutive days during a public health emergency designation during which the school would otherwise be in session.

The implementation of Pandemic EBT is in line with USDA’s commitment to keep Americans safe, secure, and healthy during this national emergency and to keep kids fed when schools are closed. USDA is working with states and local authorities to ensure schools and other program operators can continue to feed children

Jon Ross Myers

Jon Ross Myers is the executive editor and publisher of the Mississippi News Network, Mississippi's largest digital only media company. He can be reached at editor@tippahnews.com

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