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School meal benefits available on EBT cards

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About 71% of New Mexico students who qualify for free school meals are now eligible to receive benefits via a new Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program.

The P-EBT, created by The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, provides qualifying households with an EBT card loaded with the value of free school breakfasts and lunches for students during school closure. The value is based on federal reimbursement rates and could provide up to $114.00 per eligible student per month (20 days of meals).

Funds can be loaded onto existing benefit cards held by participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). If a family is not eligible for SNAP but has children who are eligible for P-EBT benefits, the state will provide a process for distributing a benefit card.

According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture website, New Mexico is expected to issue $46.1 million in P-EBT benefits to 69,755 SNAP households and $51.6 million to 85,035 non-SNAP households for school closures extending from March 16, 2020 through June 19, 2020.

Additional information about the P-EBT program can be found on the USDA Food and Nutrition Service website, www.fns.usda.gov.

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