Alabama DHR rolls out P-EBT benefits

Published 1:51 pm Wednesday, March 22, 2023

The Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR) announced plans to issue special benefits this summer to low income families. According to Alabama DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner, around 530,000 children will receive these benefits.

“Inflation has transformed each grocery trip into a balancing act for low-income families struggling to afford food for their children on top of other costs like housing and transportation,” Buckner said. “Every dollar of support from programs like P-EBT strengthens their spending power and weakens the prospect of hunger.”

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (www.nces.ed.gov), 52.1% of students in Alabama are eligible for supplemental food benefits.

Children who receive free or reduced-price school meals programs, known as the National School Lunch Program, will be eligible for extra benefits, according to Alabama DHR.

Qualifying households who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP program, will receive an extra $120 for each participating student in order to buy eligible food during the summer months. 

Pandemic- Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) benefits will begin to roll out in mid to late summer, according to DHR.

“To become eligible for Summer P-EBT, families may apply for the National School Lunch Program by contacting their schools,” said Dominic Binkley, the media representative for Alabama DHR. “Applications for the lunch program must be approved by May 16 to qualify for Summer P-EBT benefits. Families should contact their schools with any questions about eligibility.”

Alabama Cooperative Extension Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Education Agent Terronda Fields serves Butler and Lowndes counties, providing information about healthy meals for families on tight budgets.

Fields recommends planning meals ahead of time and making a shopping list for affordable, healthy meal options. She also suggests that people look for sales to make their spending dollars go further and get back to basics by preparing meals at home. 

“Take time to prepare your own meals,” Fields said. 

She said families can double recipes and freeze leftovers for later, keeping an eye on portion sizes, and drinking more water. Barbara Gordon, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, published an article in Thinkstock (which is now iStock) in 2018 regarding nutrition and children. In this article she described how poor nutrition impacts overall health outcomes. 

“Poor nutrition can impair health and immunity, lower productivity, and hinder development and learning,” Gordan said. “If a limited budget makes it difficult for you to buy food, there is help for you and your family.” 

Gordon suggests both the SNAP Program and sourcing items from local food banks for supplementing a family’s food budget.

Families interested in applying for these summer SNAP benefits or who have any questions, can speak with support specialists by calling 1-800-410-5827 and visiting www.dhr.alabama.gov/food-assistance/.

For more ideas on preparing healthy meals on a budget, visit www.aces.edu.