Press Release
July 9, 2020

Federal pandemic food assistance program approved for Utah
Pandemic-EBT program provides food assistance to school-age children

SALT LAKE CITY (July 9, 2020) — The United States Department of Agriculture has approved Utah’s application to participate in the Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program. This is a federal food assistance program for school-age children created by Congress as part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The Utah Department of Workforce Services is now working on the creation of the application process, which will be available by the end of July.

Workforce Services will issue eligible families a one-time P-EBT benefit for each child in prekindergarten through 12th grade that qualifies for free or reduced price school meals. The benefit will include the cost of what would have been school meals from March 16 through May 29, 2020. Each eligible child will receive $308.

“As with many states throughout the country, Utah faced initial difficulty in gathering the necessary data to determine eligibility when distributing this program,” said Dale Ownby, Eligibility Services Division director for Workforce Services. “In collaboration with the Utah State Board of Education we have found solutions, and are grateful to receive this approval in order to implement the program for our state.”

Eligibility for the program will be determined using the date of March 16, 2020. Children in families that received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits on March 16 do not need to apply for P-EBT. These benefits will automatically be added to their monthly benefits in July. Parents of eligible children not receiving SNAP benefits on March 16 will need to apply for P-EBT. The online application will be available at the end of July. Further application details will be provided in the coming weeks.

“Utahns Against Hunger will continue working with Workforce Services and the state school board in implementing P-EBT,” Gina Cornia, Utahns Against Hunger director. “These benefits will help many Utah families who have faced job loss and may be struggling to afford food for their families. We appreciate the hard work and leadership it has taken to get this program off the ground.”

Through the entirety of the pandemic, despite the closure of schools, free meals have continued to be provided to students in every Utah school district to ensure children have access to food.