Funds still available for pandemic EBT program

 

By Jessie Wagoner

Families in McPherson County and throughout the state are missing out on available funds through the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) Pandemic EBT program. The Pandemic EBT Program helps families who were impacted by school closures due to COVID-19, so they can purchase food for their children.

We know Kansas families continue to experience food insecurity because of the pandemic,” DCF Secretary Laura Howard said. “We want to ensure all families eligible for the program are able to receive this benefit to help with food costs during these uncertain times.”

Many families throughout McPherson County have benefited from the program; however, there are many who are eligible to receive funds and have yet to register.

We received a letter from the school saying we were eligible for the program and applied right away,” Rosa Gonzalez of McPherson said. “It has been helpful since my husband was out of work for two months.”

I applied, but my sister didn’t,” Shelly Rothel of Inman said. “I reminded her, but thought it was too late for her to apply.”

Due to the amount of funding still available, DCF has extended the deadline from June 30 to register for the program to July 31. The program provides families with a one-time benefit of up to $291 to families whose children between the ages of five to 18 received free or reduced-priced meals at participating schools during the 2019-2020 school year. The money is placed on a Kansas Benefits Card.

It took about a month for the card and funds to arrive, but it has been helpful and was worth the wait,” Gonzalez said. “I’ve even been able to use the card at the farmers’ markets to get fresh produce.”

DCF says every family who is eligible for the free or reduced-priced meals should have received a confidential link via email from their child’s school district. The link provides access to a parent portal to register for the program. School districts verify the family’s eligibility by sending the confidential link.

Participating in the Pandemic EBT program will not impact a family’s ability to access other benefits. The benefit is a one-time lump sum payment of $291 — $57 for March, $120 for April and $114 for May.

To apply for the program, follow the confidential link sent to you from the school district your child is enrolled in.