Federal aid application extended for Texas families of kids with free or reduced-price school lunches

With Houston ISD closing food distribution sites, some parents are scrambling to feed their families.

But with the application deadline extended from June 30 until July 31 for the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer program or P-EBT, those families may be able to receive some help in the form of $285 in federal aid.

The P-EBT is designed to help Texas families who are already enrolled in the free school lunch program.

"As long as they are participating in that free lunch program, they are eligible for the benefit," said Wayne Salter with Texas Health and Human Services.

Three million Texas children are eligible for the P-EBT program.

Families that were on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in March don't need to apply for the program. These benefits were automatically deposited on their Lone Star Card - the debit-like card Texas uses to distribute SNAP aid.

But parents whose kids only get free school lunches will have to enroll by the end of July. Those parents should have already gotten an email from their school district with a link to enroll in the program, but districts are sending out another alert to let parents know about the available food aid.

"These households are now having to take on the additional cost of breakfast, lunch and snacks, and these are historically meals that these children would have received if they are in schools," Salter told ABC13.

Help is also available for parents with kids younger than school age through Houston's Women and Infant Children's program. You can call 832-393-5427 for more information about WIC.

RELATED: Did your child get free or reduced-price school lunches? You may be eligible for $285 in food aid

"The extension of the P-EBT deadline helps ensure that Texans have time to apply for this program and provide nutritious food to their families as the state continues to combat COVID-19," Gov. Greg Abbott said. "Ensuring access to healthy food in our communities is an important part of our response to this pandemic."

If you're eligible for P-EBT, and you have more questions, you can contact the P-EBT Call Center at 833-613-6220 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central Time.
Copyright © 2020 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.