P-EBT program resumes in Virginia; more students now eligible for food benefits

Schoolchildren enjoying their lunch in a school cafeteria
Posted at 4:26 PM, Mar 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-16 16:42:34-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va.— More money is on the way to feed children in need.

The Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) program in Virginia has been extended through the end of the current school year, giving families needed support to feed kids.

P-EBT benefits help make up for school meals missed during virtual learning for students who qualify for free or reduced-price meals.

"We know that families are struggling to put healthy food on the table throughout the Commonwealth. Our estimates on food insecurity are that we’ve gone from about 10% to 23% during the pandemic," said Commissioner of Virginia Department of Social Services Duke Storen.

Benefits ended in September, but now families will receive retroactive payments for those missed months this week and will receive benefits at least until June.

Benefit were previously only issued to students learning virtually 100% of the time. Now, hybrid students will be eligible. VDSS says that change will expand eligibility to more than 135,000 children in Virginia.

Starting March, benefits will be issued on the 25th of each month through the end of the school year.

Related: Norfolk schools apologize for error resulting in student's missing P-EBT money, launch investigations into 23K other recipients

Fully remote students will receive $121.40 per month, and hybrid students will receive $60.70.

Many people can use a card they already have purchase groceries. Families new to the program will be mailed a P-EBT card.

People experiencing issues can contact the new Virginia P-EBT call center Monday - Friday from 7 a.m. - 6 p.m. at 804-294-1633 or toll free at 866-513-1414.

More information can be found on the Virginia Department of Social Services website.