By Sam Woods
This story was originally published by Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, where you can find other stories reporting on fifteen city neighborhoods in Milwaukee. Visit milwaukeenns.org.
Parents of children who are currently receiving free or reduced-price school meals will receive a one-time payment in June to help cover the cost of summer meals.
Payments will be $120 per child, down from payments in 2021 and 2022.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services, which administers the program, said that parents should expect payment in mid-June on an active QUEST or P-EBT card if they have one, or a P-EBT card issued to them in the mail if they do not have an active QUEST card.
The payments are part of the Summer Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer, P-EBT, program, which aims to support parents buying food for children over the summer while schools are closed and free school meals are not provided.
Money received through the Summer P-EBT program can be used on the same items that FoodShare pays for. It also can be used on most groceries but also includes most hot or prepared foods or meals from restaurants.
Who is eligible?
Parents are eligible to receive payment if their children are enrolled in the National School Lunch Program or are receiving free or reduced price school meals through the Community Eligibility Provision or Provisions 2 or 3. Students at all Milwaukee Public Schools and most non-MPS schools in Milwaukee fall under the Community Eligibility Provision.
You can view a full list of schools covered by the Community Eligibility Provision here. If your child is enrolled in one of these schools by the end of the current school year, you are eligible to receive payment.
Parents with children who get free meals at school or playground sites during the summer, such as MPS’ summer meal sites, are still eligible to receive Summer P-EBT should they meet the eligibility requirements.
Parents with questions should contact the P-EBT support team by calling 1-833-431-2224 or emailing PEBTsupport@wisconsin.gov.
Changes from last summer
Wisconsin has distributed Summer P-EBT payments since 2021. However, while parents of eligible children received $375 and $391 in 2021 and 2022, respectively, payments are capped at $120 for this summer because of cuts in federal funding for the program.
Also, in previous years, children under age 6 who did not attend school but were still in child care, as well as homeschooled children or children enrolled in fully virtual schools, were eligible for Summer P-EBT payments. These children are not eligible for Summer P-EBT payments this year.