BOSTON (WWLP) – Massachusetts has received federal approval to continue the Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) benefits through the rest of the current school year and through summer programs.

The P-EBT is a federal child nutrition program that was developed during the pandemic to increase food security for students. Eligible families can receive free or reduced-price school meals through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National School Lunch Program. This is the last school year to benefit from the program.

“Massachusetts continues to lead in food security through initiatives that directly provide families with the funds to buy groceries that meet their nutritional and cultural needs,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kate Walsh. “Not only does this P-EBT plan approval promote food security for nearly 500,000 students and their families, but it also supports our local grocery stores, corner stores, farmers, and their employees.” 

Eligible K-12 families will receive a retroactive payment on June 25 for COVID-19 related school absences that happened between September 2022 through May 11, 2023. The amount returned depends on the amount of absences by the student, reported by the school districts:

  • 1-5 absences: $25 a month per student 
  • 6-15 absences: $82 a month per student 
  • 16+ absences: $147 a month per student 

“We’re glad to help provide this additional food support to eligible families whose children missed school for COVID-related reasons,” said DESE Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley. “I’d like to thank DTA and school districts for their work connecting families with this support throughout the pandemic.”

Families that qualify will receive $120 per student for the Summer P-EBT payment on July 25. K-12 students are eligible for the summer program if they received benefits during the school year or are enrolled in SNAP, TANF, eligible categories of Medicaid, or if the school they attended participates in a specific program for high-need areas.

Families can expect to receive P-EBT payment on the same card they did in the past.