Eligible Colorado families with school-aged students to receive Pandemic-EBT benefits

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DENVER (May 26, 2020) — The Colorado Department of Human Services, in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Education, has received federal approval to administer benefits to about 363,000 school-aged children who are not able to receive meals at school. The benefits are part of the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program, which will support Colorado families during the COVID-19 epidemic.

Children who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals and enrolled in a school that participates in the National School Lunch Program can get extra food benefits in addition to the grab-and-go meals currently offered at many schools across the state. P-EBT benefits are expected to be delivered in mid- to late June and throughout July in the of amount $5.70 per student per day of school closure. Students already enrolled in the Free and Reduced Lunch Program will receive a lump sum of $279 (49 days of closure at $5.70 a day). A child newly eligible but not previously enrolled will receive the appropriate amount for the month they have been determined eligible for P-EBT. 

“P-EBT is one of many critical tools that can be used to increase access to nutritious foods as we continue to support and promote the health and well-being of Colorado’s children during this challenging time,” said Food and Energy Assistance Director Karla Maraccini. “Our team is working to make access to this new benefit as easy as possible for Colorado families.”

Colorado families that currently receive SNAP benefits and whose children attend a school that participates in the National School Lunch Program do not need to take any action, as the benefits will automatically be issued on their Colorado EBT cards. Families that currently do not participate in the SNAP program, and whose children attend a school that participates in the National School Lunch Program, will receive instructions and key information through the family’s school or school district on how to receive those benefits in June.

In addition to supporting healthy and wholesome meals for Colorado’s eligible school-age children, P-EBT is expected to bring in more than $100 million of federal money into the state’s economy through food retailers.

P-EBT was created under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) as an important opportunity to provide nutritional resources to families who are losing or lost access to free or reduced-price school meals as schools across Colorado closed in response to COVID-19.

More information and frequently asked questions can be found here.

Media contact:
Madlynn Ruble
Deputy Director of Communications