TRENTON - Human Services Acting Commissioner Sarah Adelman Sept. 14 announced the department has begun delivering summer Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) food assistance benefits to school-age children and children under 6 years of age.
According to a department release, P-EBT benefits were extended for the summer months following last school year during which there was a Covid public health emergency.
The $375-per-child summer benefits began being delivered last week to 375,000 children. For children in households already enrolled in the state’s Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program (SNAP), benefits are being loaded directly into their Families First EBT card. For children not enrolled in SNAP and who received P-EBT benefits during the school year, benefits are being loaded to the P-EBT card they received earlier this summer.
For newly eligible children for the free and reduced-price school lunch program, cards were being mailed the week of Sept. 15. These families should keep their new cards for possible future benefits.
The $375-per-eligible-child summer P-EBT benefit will be added to accounts of SNAP households with children under the age of 6.
The department has also continued to deliver P-EBT benefits for the 2020-2021 school year. Families already enrolled in SNAP, as well as families who are not enrolled in SNAP, are receiving benefits in their existing Families First EBT card or P-EBT cards.
Recipients can check their Families First account balance by visiting www.NJFamiliesFirst.com, or by calling the phone number on the back of their card.
“Food insecurity has been a concern for many during the pandemic, especially for families that rely on the nutritional support provided by the school lunch program. We’re glad we can provide additional food benefits to eligible families to ensure children have access to healthy foods as they start the new school year,” stated Acting Commissioner Adelman.
“This latest round of food assistance benefits continues the department’s efforts to provide for eligible families that missed out on the free-and reduced-meals program due to the pandemic. We remain committed to bridging these gaps and providing the support that families need to ensure they have access to nutritious foods,” stated Deputy Commissioner Elisa Neira.
Human Services has worked with school districts through the state to devise this assistance. Benefit amounts vary based on how a student attended school. The maximum benefit for students attending school fully virtual is $122.76 per child per month and $61.38 per child per month for hybrid.
The benefits are part of the federal Pandemic-Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) program. Visit here for more information on the P-EBT program. Anyone with questions about their benefits can complete an online inquiry form. When this round is completed, Human Services will have issued about $966 million in P-EBT benefits during the pandemic.
P-EBT benefits can be used at participating SNAP EBT retailers and online at Amazon and participating locations of ALDI, Shoprite, Super Foodtown, The Fresh Grocer, Stop & Shop, Food Bazaar and Walmart.
Human Services has also distributed more than $1 billion in supplemental monthly SNAP payments to households since March 2020 to assist with food needs during the pandemic.
“We know the pandemic has exacerbated the financial struggles faced by many families in the state. We encourage residents who need food assistance to visit and apply for SNAP online at www.NJHelps.org,” stated Assistant Commissioner Natasha Johnson, who directs Human Services’ Division of Family Development, which is responsible for the SNAP program.