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P-EBT benefits for the 2020-2021 school year issued to qualifying Mississippi children

The benefits previously issued were for Summer 2021.
Approximately 185,000 Mississippi students will receive these P-EBT benefits because they were...
Approximately 185,000 Mississippi students will receive these P-EBT benefits because they were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch and attended a school that had a predominately hybrid or virtual schedule for at least one month during the 2020-21 school year.(MDHS)
Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 7:28 AM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLOX) - The Mississippi Department of Human Services and the Mississippi Department of Education have issued P-EBT benefits for the 2020-21 school year.

Approximately 185,000 Mississippi students will receive these P-EBT benefits because they were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch and attended a school that had a predominately hybrid or virtual schedule for at least one month during the 2020-21 school year.

The amount of P-EBT benefits for the 2020-21 school year that children eligible to receive was determined by their school’s reported learning schedule during that year. The total 2020-21 school year benefit disbursement to Mississippi school children is estimated to be $116 million.

Summer 2021 benefits were issued in October. School year 2020-21 benefits will be loaded onto the same P-EBT card that the child received.

Not all children who received a P-EBT card will receive the 2020-21 school year benefits. Some children only qualified to receive Summer 2021 benefits because the majority of their school operated on an in-person learning schedule throughout the school year. Children who were not eligible for Summer 2021 benefits are not eligible for school year 2020-21 benefits.

While students in all MS public schools received meals for no charge during the 2020-2021 school year due to USDA waivers, eligibility for P-EBT is limited to those students who would have been eligible for free or reduced-price meals under normal school meals operations as part of the National School Lunch Program. There are three ways that children were approved:

  • Children who receive SNAP benefits are automatically approved for free or reduced-price lunch.
  • In some schools, every child is eligible for free or reduced-price lunch every year under the National School Lunch Program. These are called CEP schools. Here is a list of those schools for the 2020-21 school year: CEP School List for 2020-21
  • Families who submitted an application form for free or reduced-price lunch for the school year 2020 - 2021. Families who submitted an application received a letter stating whether their application was approved or not.

Completing an application for free or reduced-price lunch for the current 2021-22 school year does NOT make a child eligible for Summer 2021 or School Year 2020-21 benefits.

This round of Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) assists families of children eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), whose school’s predominant learning mode was either virtual or hybrid for one or more months of the 2020-21 school year.

Your child must have been approved for free or reduced-price lunch under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) for the 2020-21 school year to be eligible to receive Summer 2021 or School Year 2020-21 P-EBT benefits.

To review the benefit amount your child will receive for the 2020-21 school year, please find your child’s school on the P-EBT School list, which can be seen by clicking here.

Based on USDA regulations, P-EBT funds can purchase any food for the household, such as: Fruits and vegetables; Meat, poultry, and fish; Dairy products; Bread and cereals; Other foods such as snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages; and, Seeds and plants, which produce food for the household to eat.

Households CANNOT use P-EBT benefits to buy: Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, or tobacco; Vitamins, medicines, and supplements. If an item has a Supplement Facts label, it is considered a supplement and is not eligible for SNAP purchase; Live animals (except shellfish, fish removed from the water, and animals slaughtered prior to pick-up from the store); Foods that are hot at the point of sale; and, any nonfood items such as pet foods, cleaning supplies, paper products, and other household supplies, hygiene items, or cosmetics.

For more information and frequently asked questions, visit Mississippi’s P-EBT website. A P-EBT Call Center is also open with new extended hours from 8am to 8pm Monday through Friday. The call center can be reached by calling 1-833-316-2423.

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