DENVER (April 14, 2021) — The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS), in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), is pleased to announce that Coloradans with eligible school-enrolled children will begin to receive food benefits through the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program starting in late May. This effort will help support Colorado's families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The P-EBT program is designed to reimburse households for meals missed during school closures or reduced hours for students who are eligible for free and reduced-price school meals and attend a school that participates in the National School Lunch Program. This is a continuation of the P-EBT program that was initiated in July 2020 to reimburse families on free and reduced-price lunch for meals missed at school due to COVID-19. Families who qualify will receive a cash-like benefit for August through May of the 2020-21 school year for food-eligible purchases.
"Having access to nourishing food every day is essential to a child's well-being and learning, and the extension of the P-EBT program is one way to help families feed their children who normally access school meals,” said CDHS Executive Director Michelle Barnes. “The $49 million we distributed last school year when the P-EBT program was established made an incredible impact on Colorado families and I am thrilled to see this impactful benefit expanded again to this year."
Currently, as many as 355,000 Colorado children are eligible for P-EBT benefits. Benefits are calculated in the amount of $6.82 per student per day of school closure based on federal guidelines. Households with students who are eligible for free and reduced-price school meals will receive a retroactive monthly amount depending on a “remote” or “hybrid” learning model. “Remote” students will receive $136.40 per child/per month and “hybrid” students will receive $81.84 per child/per month.
- Eligible families already participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can expect to have P-EBT benefits automatically loaded on their current EBT cards in late May.
- Families enrolled in the free and reduced-price meal program, but not enrolled in SNAP, will receive a new P-EBT card in the mail with information provided by the local school districts. If a family believes they are eligible and don't receive a new card by the end of May, they may need to ensure they are certified for the free and reduced-price school meal program and that their address information is up to date with their local school or district.
- If you are not already enrolled in the free and reduced-price school meal program, and believe you are eligible, you can complete an application by contacting your local school or district.
More information will be released in late May on P-EBT benefits. Further updates will be shared on the CDHS website, on CDHS social media channels, and through community partners. Updates will also be communicated through Colorado schools and school districts.
In addition to supporting healthy and wholesome meals for Colorado's eligible children, P-EBT is expected to bring approximately $200 million of federal money into the state's economy through food retailers.
P-EBT was created under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 (H.R. 6201) as an important opportunity to provide nutritional resources to families who are losing or lost access to free or reduced-priced school meals as schools across Colorado closed in response to COVID-19.
More information can be found at cdhs.colorado.gov/p-ebt.
Deputy Director of Communications