Illinois receives approval to provide
$112 million more in nutrition benefits for children across the
Customers do not need to call or visit an
office; Increased SNAP benefits will be loaded directly on Link
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[September 16, 2020]
Today, the Illinois Department of Human
Services (IDHS) announced that Illinois has been approved to provide
approximately 316,000 Illinois households with additional SNAP
The USDA authorized and will fund Illinois’
Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program, which will
bring food benefits to all school-aged children who are eligible for
free or reduced meals. The benefit will be issued to all SNAP
households with school-aged children.
These new benefits will automatically be added to family Link cards.
All who are eligible for the additional benefits will start
receiving them today, April 20th, though April 30th.
“No child should ever have to worry about where their next meal is
coming from, especially during a public health emergency,” said
Governor JB Pritzker. “Expanding SNAP benefits for children who are
home from school will help more families stay safe and healthy.”
The Pandemic EBT program will provide SNAP households in Illinois
with roughly $112 million in additional benefits for their children.
Benefits are calculated using a $5.70 per day and per student
calculation. Illinois will be issuing the benefits based on a total
of 10 missed school days in March and 22 missed school days in
April. May benefits will also be issued in the month of May.
“We are constantly looking for ways to provide extra support for
Illinois residents during this extremely difficult time,” said IDHS
Secretary Grace B. Hou. “IDHS has and will continue to apply for
waivers that provide additional food assistance for children and
families in our state. This waiver was so important for us to secure
and we are happy to announce them.”
Households with school-aged children who are eligible for free or
reduced meals when school is in session, but who do not currently
receive SNAP benefits, will be able to submit a simplified
application for P-EBT benefits as early as next week, using the
ABE.Illinois.gov online portal or by completing a paper application
which will be available at the IDHS website at dhs.state.il.us.
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“We have made the meeting of students’ nutritional
needs one of our highest priorities throughout our COVID-19
response,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I.
Ayala. “We have worked with Illinois school districts over the past
several weeks to update our counts of students who qualify for free
and reduced-price meals, since many families’ financial
circumstances have changed. We want the maximum number of Illinois
families who are experiencing hardship to be able to benefit from
this additional financial assistance.”
Illinois will be able to operate the Pandemic EBT program, a
supplemental food purchasing benefit to current SNAP participants
and as a new EBT benefit to other eligible households to offset the
cost of meals that would have otherwise been consumed at school. For
the 2019-2020 school year, Illinois had approximately 1.1 million
children eligible for free-and reduced-priced lunch, or nearly 63%
of children in participating schools.
Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), States
have the option to submit a plan to the Secretary of Agriculture to
provide these benefits to SNAP and non-SNAP households with children
who have temporarily lost access to free or reduced-price school
meals due to pandemic-related school closures. State agencies may
operate the Pandemic EBT program when a school is closed for at
least five consecutive days during a public health emergency
designation during which the school would otherwise be in session.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides food
assistance to low-income people and families living in the United
States. It is a federal aid program administered by the Food and
Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Distribution of benefits occurs at the state level.
[Illinois Office of Communication and