The P-EBT program is the result of the federal coronavirus stimulus package that passed in March.
It got off to a slow start in Georgia. DFCS officials said it took the agency time to create the technology and system to help them identify all the children who qualified for P-EBT, including those who were not already receiving food stamps.
It is meant to feed any child from a household with income low enough to qualify last spring for the free or reduced-price breakfasts and lunches at schools.
The income threshold for that program is generally higher than the threshold for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps, through which the one-time payments are being channeled beginning this month.
So some parents have to sign up with DFCS to get it even though they were already registered for low- or no-cost meals through their school.
Federal guidelines estimate food costs at about $5.70 per child per day in school meal programs. Multiplying that by the 45 days students missed at the end of the school year means families will receive $256.50 per child.
Eligible families can apply for P-EBT online at https://dfcs.georgia.gov/pandemic-electronic-benefit-transfer