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Food Assistance for Families with School-Aged Children

September 21, 2020

From the Office for Social Ministry

Families struggling to feed their keiki this school year will now have additional support from the government through the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program, which offers a one-time payment for children who previously received free or low-cost lunches at school. Due to the current lockdown and school closures, eligible families can receive up to $286 per child to purchase nutritional food during the pandemic. Funding is made available through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the U. S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service.

Who is Eligible?

• Students who are either enrolled for free or reduced-price school meals at a school that participates in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) OR…

• Students who are enrolled in a school that provides free meals to all students through the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) or another provision. To view CEP schools, click here.

*** if your child is in need and NOT enrolled in the Free and Reduced-Price Lunch Program, (and you would like for them to receive P-EBT benefits) please enroll if possible by September 22, 2020 )viaEZMealApp.com.  Choose HAWAII and type in DOE when prompted to type in a district.

How Does this Work?

There are three ways the P-EBT will be distributed.

  1. SNAP RECIPIENTS - For families that received P-EBT benefits for the school year 2019-20 and are Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households, P-EBT benefits will automatically be deposited to their existing Kokua EBT card. The P-EBT benefits can be used the same way as their Kokua EBT card.
  2. NON-SNAP RECIPIENTS WHO ALREADY HAVE THE HAWAIʻI P-EBT CARD - Families who received P-EBT benefits for the school year 2019-20 and are eligible for P-EBT benefits for the school year 2020-21 will have their benefits loaded to the card they had received for their 2019-20 benefits. If a replacement card is needed (Kokua EBT or Hawaiʻi P-EBT) please call the Fidelity Information Service (FIS) customer service at 1-888-328-4292.
  3. FAMILIES NEW TO THE HAWAIʻI P-EBT PROGRAM AND ELIGIBLE - Families who did not receive P-EBT for the 2019-20 school year will be mailed a card in the name of each eligible student. The SNAP and Hawaiʻi P-EBT cards can also be used in Da Bux program, which offers healthy food for 50% discounts at selected stores.

How Much Will Families Receive?

Eligible families can receive up to the following amount for each child enrolled in school:

August 2020: $136, September 2020: $150.  The maximum for the 2-month period of School Year 2020-21: $286 per child.

  • The Hawaiʻi P-EBT benefits will be loaded on the existing Kokua EBT and Hawaiʻi P-EBT card accounts beginning September 29, 2020.
  • New Hawaiʻi P-EBT account holders will have their cards mailed beginning September 29, 2020.

For Hawaiʻi P-EBT Program Inquiries: Email hi.pebt@dhs.hawaii.gov. For additional information on COVID-19 Resources, please visit the OSM website.