On Wednesday. Gov. Ron DeSantis announced federal approval for the implementation of Florida’s Pandemic EBT Program (P-EBT).
The Department of Children and Families (DCF), in partnership with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), developed a P-EBT program to automatically issue benefits during the month of June to more than 2.1 million children who have temporarily lost access to free and reduced-price school meals during COVID-19-related school closures.
“I applaud President Trump and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for allowing states to identify gaps in services and develop new and needed programs that will help parents be reassured that their children will continue to receive healthy lunches although the school year is completed,” said DeSantis on Wednesday. “Throughout the public health emergency, Florida has taken a proactive approach to supporting families and ensuring they have access to critical resources and services.”
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act allows for states to issue P-EBT as a supplemental benefit for households with children who temporarily lost access to free and reduced-price school meals due to pandemic-related school closures. Families eligible to receive free or reduced-priced school meals will automatically receive this benefit during the month of June, no further action is needed from recipients at this time.
“Thank you to Secretary Perdue and the USDA for providing Florida the flexibility to help feed our state’s children and families throughout COVID-19,” said Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. “Fighting the chronic hunger and food insecurity worsened by this pandemic is one of our top priorities, and the Pandemic EBT program will help us ensure that the families that most need help can access fresh, healthy nutrition at this challenging time.”
“Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, we continue to work closely with our state and federal partners to help Florida families overcome situations brought on by this pandemic,” said DCF Sec. Chad Poppell. “This program offers automatic relief to families while ensuring children are not hungry during this crisis and allowing parents to focus on their family’s economic recovery.