Families set to receive food assistance for school children due to COVID-19

PIERRE, S.D.(Press Release) – The South Dakota Department of Social Services (DSS) in collaboration with the Department of Education (DOE) will be providing assistance with food costs to families who lost access to free or reduced-price school meals during the 2020-2021 school year due to COVID-19 related school closures.

“The pandemic and complications it caused were challenging for many South Dakota families,” said DSS Cabinet Secretary Laurie Gill. “By providing some extra help with food costs, we hope students and their families will emerge stronger.”

Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) for school children will provide eligible families with a benefit per child based on eligibility for free or reduced-price meals and the school’s learning mode during the 2020-2021 school year. The P-EBT benefit is issued through an Electronic Benefit Transaction (EBT) card which can be used to purchase food items at participating retailers.

“South Dakota schools have played a huge role in meeting the needs of their communities throughout the pandemic. For some families, impacts of COVID-19 like quarantine periods or virtual learning were challenging,” said Secretary of Education Tiffany Sanderson. “The P-EBT program will help make up for the additional expenses qualifying families incurred when their students weren’t able to eat breakfast or lunch at school.”

For more information about P-EBT including eligibility requirements, please visit the P-EBT website dsspebt.sd.gov, call toll free at 1.833.813.0006, or email pebt@state.sd.us.

To learn more about assistance programs, please visit dss.sd.gov.