New Mexico families will receive more than $45 million in additional food benefits — enough to feed almost 244,000 vulnerable children — following federal approval of the state’s amended Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Program for August and September.

EBT card

The benefit will be added to existing P-EBT cards for about two-thirds of recipients, and they can expect to see the money in early October. Others who qualify for the new benefit but don’t have an existing P-EBT card will be issued one with the new benefit, a process that could take several weeks.

The retroactive benefit for an estimated 243,661 children who qualify for free or reduced-price meals is meant to offset meals missed because their schools were in the remote learning mode in August and September.

New Mexico households with children who receive free or reduced-price meals will receive benefits of $5.86 per child per day for the period their individual school site was 100 percent virtual until the day their school site instituted a hybrid model.

Per the USDA guidelines, if qualifying students don’t have access to school meals for five days straight, they are eligible.

The Human Services Department has two hotlines for individuals to inquire about the status of their P-EBT benefits.

The Human Services Department Customer Service Center is 1-800-283-4465 or they can call the P-EBT Hotline at 505-660-4822.

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