So far, 66 percent of families at or below the poverty level in Louisiana have applied for additional food stamps through the USDA on behalf of 403,731 children who otherwise would be receiving food through school lunch programs.
Applications for the program began May 18 and end June 8.
All Louisiana public schools and many non-public school facilities have been closed since March 16 because of executive orders shutting down the state. Under the new federal EBT program, families of children in prekindergarten through 12th grade who normally receive free or reduced-price meals at school are eligible to receive an additional $285 per child in food stamps.
Families of children who attend a Community Eligibility Provision school where they receive free and reduced-price meals regardless of income, are also eligible.
These additional funds are made available through the CARES Act and can be used to purchase the same eligible food as a SNAP card.
Recipients of the additional EBT benefits can still receive free school meals programs being offered by many public school systems, during the shutdown.
Applicants who’ve already applied for the cards are expected to begin receiving them by June 8. Families who complete the application by June 1 will receive their EBT cards by June 13; those who complete the application by June 8 will receive benefits by June 19.
Benefits are available for 365 days. The cards may be used at any store that accepts SNAP to buy SNAP-eligible food items.
Acting State Superintendent of Education Beth Scioneaux said, “Our school systems were required to alert every eligible family, and they continue to assist families with their applications. We appreciate their partnership, as well as the partnership of the Department of Children and Family Services and other agencies.”