Over $30 Million in Food Assistance for NM School Children
New Mexico delivered over $30 million in food assistance for school aged children
252,000 K-12 students received additional food benefits through the last issuance of PEBT
SANTA FE – The New Mexico Human Services Department (HSD) in partnership with the New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) issued the final round of Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) to 252,000 K-12 New Mexico students.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture allocated over $30 million in additional food benefits for New Mexico to feed more than 252,000 children accounting for the off-school summer months.
To qualify, New Mexico students must have attended school as of the last date of the 2022-2023 school year and be approved for Free or Reduced Priced meals for Breakfast/Lunch through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or the child may have attended a school that received free meals through the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP).
“As we wrap up the last issuance of federal pandemic-era food assistance for children, HSD is reinforcing our commitment to ensure low-income families in New Mexico receive the resources they need to thrive,” said Kathy Slater-Huff, HSD Acting Deputy Secretary.
“We are grateful for the partnership across agencies to make sure that our students and their families get the most out of this federal support. We all recognize how crucial food access is and are glad to be a part of making sure our families have what they need to succeed,” said Secretary of Public Education Arsenio Romero.
The Public Education Department identifies students who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals, PED then shares this eligibility information with HSD. Based on the information received, HSD issues food benefits onto a P-EBT card, which is either mailed to eligible households or loaded onto an existing Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT). Eligible households received a one-time payment of $120 per child. This payment is intended to help cover the cost of meals that would have been provided at school.
The P-EBT card can be used to purchase eligible food items at authorized retailers, much like a regular EBT card used for SNAP benefits. The deposits and new cards mail out started on September 12, 2023, with final cards mailed out on September 25, 2023.
A total of 52,000 new cards are being mailed out to children who are either new to the program or have had a change in guardian or new address. It takes 7-10 business days for families to receive their cards.
HSD strongly advices to hold onto the cards even after the P-EBT program ends. These cards will be useful for the upcoming new summer EBT program, which will replace P-EBT next year. This likely means that benefits for the new program may be loaded onto the same cards, simplifying the process for families and reducing administrative costs.
If you have not received your benefit or card by October 7, 2023, please call HSD at 1-800-283-4465.
For frequently asked questions and to view the benefit amount issued based on each school schedule, please visit: Help Feed Your Children with Pandemic EBT | New Mexico Human Services Department (state.nm.us).