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Bill introduced to extend SNAP benefits to families facing COVID-19 school closures

The Pandemic EBT Act would apply to families with children attending schools that are closed for at least five consecutive days.
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Photograph: Shutterstock

U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge, chair of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight and Department Operations, and Rep. Bobby Scott, chair of the Education and Labor Committee, have introduced the Pandemic EBT Act, which will give states the option to extend Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to those who have children attending schools that are closed due to COVID-19.

Under Pandemic EBT, the secretary of agriculture will be able to approve state plans to offer benefits to eligible households even if those families are not signed up to receive SNAP benefits. Students and their families are eligible if they are receiving free or reduced-price lunches and are enrolled in a school that is closed for at least five consecutive days due to COVID-19. 

Fudge, D-Ohio, said the bill will provide necessary aid to families impacted by the recent school closures due to the pandemic. 

“As we begin to take precautionary measures to prevent the coronavirus by closing schools, there is no better time than the present to prepare to guarantee vulnerable Americans are fed during this and future public health emergencies,” Fudge said in a statement. “Although it may be necessary to close schools, it is also imperative that we keep in mind that school meals are often the only meals some students receive daily. No child should be a risk of going hungry as we address any public health crisis.”

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