In early June, tens of thousands of Puerto Rican students from kindergarten through the fourth year of high school — regardless of their parents’ or guardians’ income levels — will receive a new round of money for summer meal assistance as part of federal Epidemic EBT program administered by the Family Socioeconomic Development Administration (Adsef) of the Department of Family.
Alberto Fradera Vázquez, administrator of Adsef, said that as was the case during the pandemic, the Pandemic EBT benefit will be available to all students enrolled in public, private and non-profit schools from kindergarten to twelfth grade. Linked to school canteen scheme. Private school students who have their own meal plans are not eligible for the financial benefit.
While in the past the benefit was $119 per month for each student enrolled in a qualifying school, the amount of money awarded in this case was not specified, but it may be similar. It should be noted that the benefit covers the months of June and July when students are “off campus”.
Pandemic-EBT was created to provide financial assistance to students affected by the closure or reduction of school hours due to the Covid-19 emergency.
“We are in the final administrative process to get funding. About three to four days ago we signed the ‘grant award’ for the transfer of funds,” determined Fradera Vázquez, referring to federal funds coming from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA, its abbreviation in English). The amount is $45 million.
He said Governor Pedro Pierluzzi would announce other details of the plan later, adding that the benefit should be implemented “in the first weeks of June.”
To Primera Hora’s questions, he noted that the estimate of eligible students could be closer to the 400,000 affected in previous rounds of the federal program.
“We expect it to be more or less…the number may vary slightly due to enrollment in schools and it is also important to see how many schools have entered or exited the school canteen scheme,” he noted.
He indicated that they were working at full speed so that payments would be made in a “prompt and quick” manner and that the application process should be explained to the public in the coming weeks.
Students who qualify and participate in the Scheme of Nutrition Assistance (PAN) do not need to take any action to receive the money as it will be directly deposited into the family card. Meanwhile, those who have not participated in the PAN number should fill the application online. A family card will be issued by post to those who do not participate in the PAN number. The card can be used to purchase unprocessed food at nearly 3,000 establishments that accept the Family Card. The agency has yet to determine whether students who received benefits during the pandemic — who are eligible for this new round — will be able to use the same card.
It is important for citizens to know that deposits are made by each minor and not by the family. This means that in a family of four eligible students, four monthly deposits will be received.
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