BOSTON (WWLP) – Additional P-EBT funds are available for families impacted during the school year with COVID-related excused absences.

The Baker-Polito Administration announced that Massachusetts received $22 million in federal funds to provide Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) benefits to more than 475,000 school-age children and their families through the school year 2021-2022. Students who were unable to attend school due to COVID-related absences are eligible.

Eligible Massachusetts’ families will receive a retroactive P-EBT payment for September 2021 through April 2022 COVID-related absences on May 25, 2022. Two additional payments will be issued on May 25 and June 24.

COVID-19 related eligible excused school absences that are determined by school districts will receive the following amount:

  • 1-5 absences: $21 a month per student
  • 6-15 absences: $71 a month per student
  • 16+ absences: $128 a month per student

The federal program (P-EBT) was established in April 2020 when schools closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The program was extended through the 2021-2022 school year to provide free or reduced-priced school meals.

“The Baker-Polito Administration has pursued all available tools and resources to support individuals and families impacted by the economic fallout from the pandemic. Thanks to close coordination at the state and local level, this P-EBT plan approval for school year 2021-2022 adds another critical tool to the Commonwealth’s effort to leverage federal funds, promote food security, and provide additional food assistance to students and their families,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders. 

“P-EBT has proven to be an effective tool during the COVID-19 pandemic to help families and their students directly purchase healthy, culturally appropriate food. The program also brings critical resources into our local communities, supporting food retailers and their employees,” said Department of Transitional Assistance Acting Commissioner Mary Sheehan. “We are thankful for our partnership with DESE and local school districts that enables the state to provide these critical nutrition benefits to hundreds of thousands of students and their families.”

“When students miss school, many of them also miss services such as free or reduced-price meals,” Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley said. “We’re pleased to continue our collaboration with DTA to offer P-EBT benefits that help families access healthy food.”