FAMILIES of public-school children across the US are getting a bite of extra stimulus money from the CARES Act.
States are sending families the money that would have been spent on their child's school lunch had schools not been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Households with children qualifying for free or reduced lunch have been receiving the surplus money that the state would have used to provide them lunch.
The money, which has been disbursed over the past few months, can be spent at supermarkets, greenmarkets and other grocery stores.
This extra one-time boost is called P-EBT, or Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer, and the amount varies by state.
In New York City, every lunch is free for every public school child, so families will get $420 per enrolled student.
In Iowa, that prepaid debit card will go only to families enrolled in the free or reduced lunch program and will hold about $307.
The benefits will either go to a family's existing EBT or Medicaid card, or the state will mail them a fresh card.
The money comes in addition to any food benefits the family may be using, such as SNAP, and comes with the same conditions as SNAP: it cannot be used to buy hot food, prepared food, pet food, or non-food items.
P-EBT is a provision of the CARES Act, a federal stimulus passed in March that provided a one-time $1200 stimulus check and also granted an extra $600 per week to people receiving unemployment.
But as the pandemic continues and the US economy shrank by a record 33% in the past quarter, congress is working on a second stimulus.
But Democratic and Republican proposals–the HEROES Act in the House and the HEALS Act in the Senate, respectively–are in competition.
The proposals have different priorities, with the Democratic proposal offering rental and mortgage assistance while the Republican proposal includes a five-year exemption from liability for business owners if their employees become infected with the virus on the job.
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