By Natalie Allison, Nashville Tennessean
NASHVILLE — As Tennessee families brace for the loss of federal unemployment supplements, the state could forfeit an estimated $60 million in federal funds allocated to help low-income parents purchase food for their children.
The program, Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer, or P-EBT, was created earlier this year through the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act as a way to reimburse families whose children are on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's free or reduced lunch program, but who could not receive those meals once schools shut down.
In Tennessee, families can receive around $250 per child to cover the cost of meals missed at school in March, April and May. The money, deposited on a payment card, can be spent at grocery stores and places where EBT cards are currently accepted.
While households already enrolled in food stamps or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families were to automatically receive the $250 payments on their existing EBT cards, Tennessee families on free or reduced lunch not enrolled in the other two welfare programs are required to pass an additional application process before receiving P-EBT funds.