LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Recent program approvals are good news for Arkansas children.

Arkansas has received federal approval to provide food benefits to eligible children during the summer months, the Arkansas Department of Health and Department of Education announced.

The summer nutrition benefit program known as Summer Pandemic EBT, or P-EBT, is for children who receive free or reduced-price school meals or are under 6 years old and their family receives SNAP benefits. Benefits are provided by a debit-type card used to purchase food. A typical family with an eligible child will receive $391 per child for the summer.

“It’s important that families are able to feed children healthy and nutritious meals all year long, even when schools are out of session,” Mary Franklin, director of the DHS Division of County Operations said. “This Summer P-EBT benefit will provide resources to ensure that eligible families are able to cover costs involved with providing these meals.”

If a student has not been approved, they may submit a 2021-22 meal application with their school district by July 29. If approved because of that application, the child will only be eligible for the summer benefit since the approval is non-retroactive for the previous school year.

Approval for the 2021-22 school year P-EBT is for children who missed in-person school due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A separate benefit for the school year under these circumstances is applied for through the school district. The application process varies by district, but the federal program allows up to $7.01 per day for those who are eligible. This benefit extends to not only students but children who were under 6 years old and part of a household which receives SNAP benefits.