Colorado has opened its application for Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer, a federal payment to families in lieu of meals that children would have received had schools been open in the spring.
Congress included the enhanced benefits in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act for households that were already receiving food benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The extra amount is worth $5.70 per child per day that schools were closed.
Households that were already enrolled in March, April or May were intended to have the payments incorporated into their existing benefits. For families that were not participating in the free and reduced-price lunch program but have lost income since the onset of the pandemic, they must apply separately.
The Colorado Department of Human Services notes that immigration status does not factor into the award of P-EBT.
“Though many states needed time to overcome administrative challenges, almost all states have now selected the option, with most having issued these benefits by mid-summer,” wrote the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
The benefits, up to $279 per child, will be applicable only for the 2019-2020 school year. Senate Republicans did not include an extension of P-EBT in their proposed coronavirus relief bill, and on Thursday the U.S. Senate went on recess without reaching a compromise with the White House and the U.S. House of Representatives.