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Families set to receive food assistance due to COVID-19

Families set to receive food assistance due to COVID-19

PIERRE – The South Dakota Department of Social Services (DSS) in collaboration with the Department of Education will be providing additional assistance with food costs to families who lost access to free or reduced-price school meals in response to COVID-19 related school closures. 

Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) will provide families with a one-time benefit of $285 per eligible child. The benefit is issued through an Electronic Benefit Transaction (EBT) card.  The card can be used to purchase food items at participating retailers. 

“All South Dakota families with school-aged children who qualified for free or reduced-price school meals under the National School Lunch Program during the 2019-2020 school year are eligible for P-EBT,” said DSS Cabinet Secretary Laurie Gill. “This will be incredibly helpful to families as they deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Families who received free or reduced-price school meals and who are already eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will automatically have the benefit added to their existing EBT account on June 29. Those who currently receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will be automatically enrolled in the P-EBT program and a card will be mailed with activation and use instructions.  Benefits will be available July 1.

All other households who received reduced-price school meals will be sent a letter with a link to an online application. Once submitted, a P-EBT card will be mailed to them with activation and use instructions.

“This program will provide extra help buying groceries for the families of more than 46,000 South Dakota children,” Gill said.

To learn more about assistance programs, please visit dss.sd.gov. For questions about P-EBT, please call 1.877.999.5612.