The USDA Food and Nutrition Service recently announced the Summer 2022 Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program. Texas is currently developing a plan as required for approval. Therefore, details on the implementation of Summer P-EBT in Texas are not yet available. However, the federal guidance provides information on eligibility that is helpful for Texas school districts and private schools to review prior to the summer period.
Schools are strongly encouraged to continue to accept and process household meal applications and conduct direct certification matching to determine student meal eligibility during the summer months.
The information below is from the USDA Q&A for Summer P-EBT released May 9, 2022.
9. What children are eligible for P-EBT benefits during a covered summer period?
- All school children who would have received free or reduced-price school meals at school under the NSLP or SBP are eligible for P-EBT benefits in the summer of 2022.
- Children who are determined newly eligible for free or reduced-price school meals during the covered summer period.
- Children in schools or school districts that have been newly approved to begin operating under the Community Eligibility Provision or under Provisions 2 or 3 in SY 22-23 are only eligible for P-EBT benefits during the covered summer period if they are determined income eligible or categorically eligible for free or reduced school meals.
10. Many school districts are not able to process school meal applications during the summer months. How should the State certify children in those districts for summer P-EBT benefits?
The traditional School Food Authority (SFA)-administered school meal application process contains integrity safeguards that make it the preferred method for certifying children for free or reduced-price meal benefits, and by extension, summer P-EBT. For this reason, USDA encourages States to use that process to certify newly eligible children during the summer. While SFA staff may not be available on a full-time basis, States and SFAs should consider maintaining a minimum presence to process applications, perhaps on a part-time or weekly basis. USDA reminds States that the FFCRA makes administrative funds available at both the state and local levels for costs that are properly allocable to P-EBT activity.
Another alternative is for SFAs to accept new applications during the summer but only process them after the start of the new school year. Children determined eligible on applications submitted prior to the end of the summer could then be issued P-EBT benefits retroactively after the start of the new school year. However, it is preferable for children to be issued their benefits during the summer period, so USDA encourages school districts to process applications as they receive them before considering this alternative.