The designated secretary of the Department of the Family, Dr. Carmen Ana González Magaz and the administrator of the Administration of Socioeconomic Development (ADSEF) of the Family, Alberto Fradera Vázquez announced today that after obtaining the approval of the plan of the food assistance program for students, Known as Pandemic EBT (P-EBT), $ 390.7 million will be allocated to Puerto Rico for the 2020-2021 school year for the food support of thousands of students, while they are educated virtually or on reduced hours.
Approximately 326,680 students participating in the School Dining Program of the Puerto Rico Department of Education (DE) from schools of the public education system, private schools and non-profit organizations are eligible for the monthly benefit that will be distributed through the Family Card .
González Magaz explained that upon receiving the approval of the plan, the next step is for the federal government to transfer the funds into the state accounts to begin disbursements. “Once the transfer is reflected, we are ready to make the first disbursements, most likely before the end of January.”
ADSEF is the agency that will manage the disbursement of funds at the local level.
“All eligible students will receive $ 119.02 in attendance for each month of the 2020-2021 school year that began in August 2020 and ends in May of the current year. For the period from August 2020 to January 2021, students will receive a back pay of $ 714.12. Each subsequent month, the benefits will be received monthly by electronic transfer to your Family benefits card, ”said the ADSEF administrator.
It was reported that the broadcasts will be carried out in three groups that have been previously coordinated with the certified shops of the PAN, the schools and the Department of Education. The first phase includes students whose families participate in the PAN program and whose information is in the system. The second phase allows public school students, whose families are not PAN participants, to enter their information in a portal that will be enabled for the P-EBT and the third phase is separate for students from private and non-profit schools, active in the school canteen program.
“Each issue will be widely announced once the allocation is received so that each family is informed of the day the assistance will be deposited. In the case of families participating in the PAN, they will not have to carry out any management on the portal. New participants will be able to enter their information on the new platform and will receive the card with their benefits by mail, ”assured Fradera Vázquez.
The P-EBT assistance can be used to purchase unprepared food in the more than three thousand certified stores of the Nutrition Assistance Program (PAN) around the island. It was also reported that a direct assistance line will be set up for the P-EBT in order to meet the needs of new participants and seek direct communication with those who do not have Internet access.
The Governor of Puerto Rico, Pedro Pierluisi, indicated that his administration will ensure that the island’s population receives the federal aid they need to overcome the challenges they face due to the pandemic.
“These funds give them a break and help them provide food for their children who cannot attend school in person. I thank the Department of the Family for their diligence in obtaining the approval of these funds, “added the president.
The P-EBT was extended to Puerto Rico this school year, after the island was excluded in the first allocation approved by the United States Congress. Multiple community organizations, nonprofits, professional organizations, Congressmen, state and federal agencies, and allies in the fight to end hunger advocated in the United States Congress and the White House for this assignment.