COLUMBIA, S.C. — Pandemic EBT cards – or PEBT – are being issued to eligible students across South Carolina.
This federal program is being used by states across the nation, including South Carolina.
“PEBT is a one-time, federally-funded benefit to help supplement food-family costs in response to the COVID19 pandemic," says Connelly-Anne Ragley Director of Communications and External Affairs for the Dept. of Social Services. "And knowing that for many children in South Carolina, the only meals that they may receive could be during the school day.”
The South Carolina Department of Social Services is participating in this federal program that sends eligible students a one-time PEBT card with $330.
“Its $330 per child so if you have more than one child that meets that category – you will receive one for each child," Ragley continues. "The way that’s calculated is we take the number of days that the schools were physically closed to students, so roughly 58 days times $5.70 per day. And that’s a number that comes from the federal government. So you multiply that together and that’s where that $330 one time benefit comes from.”
There are essentially two groups of students who are eligible for these benefits- any student K-12 who was registered for free or reduced lunch prior to March 13th, and students who attend a school who has opted to participate in the Community Eligibility Provision.
“That means that every child in that school district, no matter their economic status, they receive free lunch and breakfast at the school, no cost to the parent, and that’s something that’s made at the school district level," says Ragley.
School Districts like Richland One and Lexington Four are in this program so every child enrolled in those schools will receive a PEBT card.
Michelle Gibson is a foster mother to four-year-old Monet who attends school in Richland One, “It is a blessing that they were able to give out this money- or these EBT cards to supplement some of your income for your children to be able to have extra snacks or just be able to provide weekly lunches for them also.”
“PEBT is a very unique program in response to the COVID19 pandemic and extended long periods of school closures to really help over 470,000 children and their families provide food and help supplement their family food budget," Ragley says.
“I thought it was an awesome, awesome idea because they didn’t have to do it and I’m appreciative," Gibson adds.