School meal relief coming for in-need kids, families: DHS

Families across Wisconsin will get help feeding their children who usually get free or reduced-price meals at school but haven’t this year because of the pandemic.

In the December stimulus package, Congress authorized the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to renew the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer program, or P-EBT, for the 2020-2021 school year.

Wisconsin’s plan for providing benefits has been approved by FNS, and eligible families will begin seeing notifications and benefits in late March and early April.

Benefits will be provided retroactively to the beginning of the school year. More than 350,000 families received P-EBT during the final months of the 2019-2020 school year.

Many families will be notified of their eligibility in late March and early April. Families will automatically receive a letter in the mail about their benefits if:

  • They have a child who is already enrolled to receive free or reduced-price meals at a school that participates in the National School Lunch Program; and,
  • The child’s school responded to a survey sent out by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and reported that students in the child’s grade attended class from home full or part-time during certain months of the 2020-2021 school year; and,
  • The child’s family currently receives benefits from another state program like BadgerCare Plus or FoodShare

If eligible families have an active QUEST card, the benefits will be provided on that card; otherwise, families will receive a dedicated P-EBT card in the mail. This ATM-like card can be used in stores to purchase the same items allowed under FoodShare.

More information is available at dhs.wisconsin.gov.

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