DHS Says Families Face Food Insecurity Absent Congressional Action

On August 20, the U.S. Department of Agriculture notified states that pandemic electronic benefit transfer (P-EBT) benefits could be issued to schools that are not providing meal service due to the closure of the school for at least five days as long as benefits were issued by Sept. 30. P-EBT helps ensure that children can eat. Pennsylvania submitted its plan to the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service for approval on Aug. 28 and last week learned the plan was denied. The PA Department of Human Services (DHS) would like to continue P-EBT for the entire 2021 school year, but cannot do so without Congressional reauthorization, as the program sunsets on Sept. 30. DHS is urging Congress to reauthorize P-EBT for the entire 2020-21 school year and to clearly state how benefits should be issued for hybrid and remote learning environments.