Posted By Christina Bell, CPA
This week I received a letter in the mail stating my family was automatically enrolled to receive benefits under Delaware’s Pandemic Electronic Transfer (P-EBT) program. Delaware’s P-EBT Program provides food assistance to families with children who lost access to free or reduced-price school meals due to school closures or reduced in-person attendance as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Families who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, as well as families who do not receive SNAP, may participate in the P-EBT Program if they have eligible children in their households. Children enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade at a Delaware school are eligible for P-EBT benefits if:
- The child is certified either directly, through categorical eligibility, or through an application to receive free or reduced-price school meals for the current school year or attends a school where all students receive free school meals as part of the National School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program AND
- The child is not able to receive free or reduced-price meals at school because they are participating in remote learning due to school closures or reduced in-person school attendance or hours during the pandemic.
Families are receiving P-EBT cards in the mail simply because their child attends a school where all students receive free school meals as part of the National School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program. Families of any income who receive a P-EBT card are entitled to use them; however, some families do not feel comfortable utilizing them because they don’t have the need for the assistance. The good news is there are ways for nonprofits and those not in need of their P-EBT benefits to work together to help those struggling with food insecurity. Before I go into those details, please note that P-EBT cards are nontransferable and cannot be donated to an individual or organization. It is illegal to buy, sell, or trade P-EBT cards or benefits and cards cannot be returned to the government. To help, individuals can use their P-EBT card to purchase eligible food items and donate those food items to a local charity. Obtaining a list of the organization’s most needed food items before purchase may be helpful so donated items do not perish. Individuals can also use their P-EBT card to purchase eligible food items for use in their household and donate the money saved to a local charity.
Many cities and community groups have already come together to organize P-EBT redistribution methods and events that allow donors to donate the money saved by using their P-EBT card to local nonprofit organizations. So, before you pass on receiving your P-EBT assistance, go ahead and utilize the funds to help your community.