CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — The federal government is compensating the families of about a million Illinois public school students for missed meals.
The program — Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer, an offshoot of the EBT system — is designed for students who usually receive free or reduced-priced breakfast and lunch, but have not had access with schools closed.
The benefit is $450 per student, regardless of income or citizenship status.
According to the Sun-Times, Chicago Public Schools participates in the federal program that provides free lunch for all students in the district. The families of every CPS student is eligible and will automatically receive the $450 benefit in the mail, plus hundreds more next month to support food expenses.
Hundreds of CPS schools have provided meals-to-go during remote learning, but that has no impact on the program.
The first funds will be distributed in the first half of March with $6.82 loaded onto the cards for each school day through December that students were in remote learning — adding up to a little over $450 for CPS students, the Sun-Times reported. Another set of cards will be mailed in April with benefits for January through March, and families will receive a monthly benefit starting in May for the rest of the school year.
According to the Governor’s Office, the cards will look like debit cards and can be used at any grocery store that accepts EBT. Officials ask that families to be on the lookout for the cards in the mail, urging diligence so the benefits aren’t thrown away. Parents should immediately update their address with their school if they’ve recently moved.
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March 2, 2021 at 06:09PM