Why Didn’t Delaware Get Pandemic EBT Nutrition Benefits For This School Year?

It came to my attention that Delaware did NOT receive the funding they received in the last school year for temporary emergency nutrition benefits for the 2020-2021 school year. Only a handful of states seemed to receive this funding. Was this a case where Delaware applied and was denied or did we even bother to apply? In a time when state budgets are facing shortfalls due to the pandemic it is a wasted opportunity to not get funding when it is staring at you in the face.

According to the US Food & Nutrition service, this funding is defined as:

Through P-EBT, eligible school children receive temporary emergency nutrition benefits loaded on EBT cards that are used to purchase food. Children who would have received free or reduced price meals under the National School Lunch Act if their schools were not closed or operating with reduced hours or attendance for at least 5 consecutive days are eligible to receive P-EBT benefits.

According to a guidance letter released to all states on November 20th, 2020:

The Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act (P.L. 116-159) extends Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) through the end of September, 2021. That means that P-EBT is now available for all of school year (SY) 2020-2021.

It seems like Delaware could have received a full refund of costs associated with this funding:

States may claim full reimbursement of necessary, allowable, and reasonable costs incurred in the development and execution of State P-EBT plans during federal fiscal year 2021 (October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021).

The only states or territories that received this funding were Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont and Puerto Rico. The previous school year funding for this program demanded that Delaware release all funding by September 30th, 2020. Perhaps someone from the Delaware Department of Education can answer or explain why Delaware did NOT get this funding.

Updated, 10:41am:

According to Alison May with the Delaware Department of Education the EBT funding is handled by the Delaware Department of Health and Human Services.

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