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2020 0624 meals 01.jpg

A Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) card sent to families of eligible children is shown in 2020.

HUNTINGTON — The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources has extended the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program to children under the age of 6 who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and are not enrolled in school.

The P-EBT benefit will be issued retroactively in two-month allotments beginning with the October/November 2020 benefit period. The amount of benefits will vary by county and the child will receive the average student benefit for their county of residence.

Each SNAP household with a qualifying child will receive a West Virginia P-EBT card. A letter will be mailed separately from the card with a DHHR case number and will explain the amount the child is eligible to receive during each benefit period. The P-EBT letter case number is needed to activate the P-EBT card.

“P-EBT is a valuable resource to ensure West Virginia children’s nutritional needs are met during the ongoing pandemic,” said Linda Watts, commissioner for DHHR’s Bureau for Children and Families, in a release. “We are pleased to expand this federal benefit to a broader population of our most vulnerable residents.”

The expanded P-EBT program will benefit approximately 37,000 additional children in West Virginia, according to DHHR. The first P-EBT issuance date for non-schoolchildren will be released in June.

The P-EBT cards were designed to reimburse families for free or reduced-price meals their children would have been eligible for had they been in school and not at home due to COVID-19. In June 2020, more than 230,000 West Virginia students received $313 each in federal aid to account for those meals that would have been provided in March, April and May of last year. A second round of funding was released in March.

Forty-three out of 55 state counties, including Cabell County, are Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) counties, which means free meals are served to all public school students daily.

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