Wisconsin has received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) for its plan to implement a new federal program to provide food benefits for children under the age of 6 who are part of FoodShare households and who are not yet enrolled in school. We will be distributing benefits this week to those families. Called Pre-6 Pandemic-EBT (Pre-6 P-EBT), the program is designed to help families whose young children may have been at home more often since last fall due to closures of child care facilities during the pandemic. The first benefits for this program will be issued on May 29 covering the months of October through December 2020. FoodShare recipients do not need to do anything to receive these benefits.
“Too many Wisconsin families were struggling to put food on the table even before the pandemic, and that need is even greater now,” said Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake. “Pre-6 Pandemic-EBT will help feed our youngest and most vulnerable Wisconsinites, and we are committed to making sure these benefits reach our families that need them most.”
The amount of benefits that FoodShare households will receive for Pre-6 P-EBT is being calculated on a regional basis, using the information submitted by schools for the regular P-EBT program about how often students learned from home during this school year. For each month, one of three scenarios will determine benefits:
- If a household is in a region where the majority of school-age children learned from home all the time in a month, the household will receive the full Pre-6 P-EBT benefit amount for that month.
- If a household is in a region where the majority of school-age children learned from home part time based on a hybrid learning model in a month, the household will receive a partial Pre-6 P-EBT benefit amount for that month.
- If a household is in a region where the majority of school-age children learned in person at their schools in a month, the household will receive no Pre-6 P-EBT benefit for that month.
The full benefit amount will vary from month to month as it is calculated using the number of school days in a given month, multiplied by the per diem amount allowable for P-EBT, $6.82. Households are only eligible to receive Pre-6 P-EBT benefits for months in which they were active in the FoodShare program, and children must be under the age of 6 as of October 1, 2020.
All families in a region will receive the same amount of benefits in a given month.
Families will receive letters notifying them of how much they are receiving under this program. Pre-6 P-EBT benefits will be put on FoodShare households’ QUEST cards.
If a child is under the age of 6, but goes to a K-12 school where they are enrolled in free or reduced-price meals, they are eligible for the School P-EBT program and will not receive Pre-6 P-EBT benefits.