Sarbanes, Maryland Congressional Delegation Announce New COVID-19 Emergency Nutrition Assistance Program for Maryland Students

Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) and the Maryland Congressional Delegation today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved Maryland’s plan to provide new Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) nutrition assistance to Maryland students who receive free- or reduced-price school lunches.

With schools closed through May 15, the Maryland Department of Human Resources estimates that approximately 427,000 children will benefit from this new assistance. Maryland is one of 12 states whose plans have already been approved.

“Thousands of Maryland students have lost access to healthy and nutritious food provided by their schools at the same time as food insecurity has spiked as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the delegation said. “The state plan approved today will help Maryland families access nutritious food to feed their children. Our Congressional Delegation will continue to work together to ensure that this relief program and other efforts provided by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act make their way to Maryland families as swiftly as possible.”

The CARES Act also provided $8.8 billion in additional funding for Child Nutrition Programs to ensure children receive meals while schools remain closed. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act provided temporary new authority and broad flexibility for the USDA and states to adapt the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to respond to the current public health crisis.

Like regular SNAP benefits, P-EBT benefits would be issued via EBT cards to households with children who would have received free- or reduced-price meals under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act – if not for school closures. Monthly assistance will be calculated based on the daily rate of $5.70 per child for each day that a child’s school was closed in a given month.

In addition to today’s announcement, the USDA last week approved the Maryland’s request to issue SNAP emergency allotments to all current SNAP households for the months of April and May. All current SNAP households will receive the maximum allotted SNAP benefit according to the household size – regardless of income.