Gov. Pritzker announces expansion of pandemic EBT program

Gov. Pritzker announces expansion of pandemic EBT program
The front and back image of the P-EBT cards that will be mailed. (Source: State of Illinois)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (KFVS) - Governor JB Pritzker announced approximately 1 million children across Illinois will receive more federally-funded food benefits, starting in March.

Governor Pritzker joins local officials to announce the expansion of a nation-leading monthly food benefits program that will help approximately 1 million children across Illinois.

Governor Pritzker joins local officials to announce the expansion of a nation-leading monthly food benefits program that will help approximately 1 million children across Illinois.

Posted by Governor JB Pritzker on Tuesday, February 23, 2021

He said the benefits are valued at up to $110 million per month, and is expected to reach about 200,000 more eligible children this school year compared to 2020.

This followed a state request to expand eligibility for the program, the additional food support, funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service.

Eligible children across the state will automatically receive the benefits on an EBT card mailed directly to their homes. The funding will be distributed by the Illinois Department of Human Services in partnership with the Illinois State Board of Education.

“Today, we move another step closer to ending hunger for all of Illinois with a benefits program that will support approximately 1 million children across our state. Starting next month, eligible families across Illinois can be on the lookout for a benefits card in the mail to provide additional, federally funded food benefits for their children,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “I’m excited to announce that we’ll be able to serve about 200,000 more children who have previously received this support, each with a larger daily benefit than in the past. My administration is proud to secure more federal funding for Illinois to make this expansion possible.”

According to the governor’s office, Illinois’ Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program brought approximately 764,000 children more than $259 million worth of nutrition benefits during the 2019-2020 school year.

In the coming weeks, families will receive $6.82 for each day the child did not have access to school meals. This represents a 19 percent increase over the 2019-2020 school year, when the daily benefit was $5.70.

Families do not need to apply for this round of P-EBT benefits.

The governor’s office said they will receive one P-EBT card per eligible child, and the cards can be used to buy food items at EBT-authorized retailers, which include most major grocery stores in Illinois. Cards will be mailed to the address the school has on file for the child.

Copyright 2021 KFVS. All rights reserved.