Public school divisions in Martinsville and Henry County will participate in the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program as part of a food assistance plan approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) that is being implemented statewide by the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act authorized a temporary food assistance program for households with children affected by school closures during the nationwide public health emergency. The Food and Nutrition Service accepted state plans for the P-EBT program and, pursuant to the authority granted under the FFCRA, FNS approved Virginia’s P-EBT operational plan in late April.
VDSS will issue P-EBT benefits to current Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households and to non-SNAP households, which include children eligible for free and reduced–price school meals, through Virginia’s SNAP EBT card system. The VDSS, in conjunction with the VDOE and local school divisions, will identify eligible children in both SNAP and non-SNAP households.
Households do not have to apply for P-EBT. If a student was eligible to receive free or reduced–price meals at school before the school closure, the student will be included in the file of eligible students provided to VDSS. If a school participated in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) and all students received school meals at no cost, all students enrolled in the CEP school will also be included in the file of eligible students provided to VDSS. Because all HCPS schools are CEP schools, it is anticipated that all HCPS students will receive P-EBT benefits.
The P-EBT food purchasing assistance benefit is to supplement existing food assistance and nutrition programs for low-income households during the pandemic. It does not replace meals provided through the school programs operating during unexpected closures or the summer meal programs that will begin when the school year is over. Students and families who receive P-EBT should also continue to participate in other food assistance programs, such as meals provided by schools and the summer meal programs. To find current locations for school and summer meal distribution, parents and guardians should text FOOD or COMIDA to 877-877.
Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the agency (state or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.
To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the at: , and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992.