A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Experts say pandemic EBT grocery money for families will help boost Kentucky economy

By Nadia Ramlagan
Public News Service

September is Hunger Action Month, and advocates say the latest round of federal Pandemic EBT and Summer EBT will give Kentucky’s economy a boost of more than $267 million while helping families put food on the table.

Pandemic EBT is the national program established last year at the beginning of the COVID crisis. It provides cash for groceries to low-income families of young children whose daycare and preschool may have been disrupted by COVID-19.

In April 2020, SNAP enrollment in Kentucky increased by 16% due to coronavirus pandemic-related layoffs. (Photo from Adobe Stock, via PNS)

Summer EBT is a one-time grocery benefit, reimbursing families who qualify for free and reduced-price lunches for the extra cost of food they incurred during the summer.

Eric Friedlander, secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, said the programs will directly affect more than 600,000 children.

“Whatever happens to one of us in the community affects us all,” Friedlander contended. “And this is a great example of that. Because this Pandemic EBT goes to an individual, but then what happens is it supports the retailers in our local communities. And that is critical for everyone in a community.”

For more information about requirements and qualifications, call the Department of Community Based Services hotline at 1-855-306-8959. Families who lost their EBT or P-EBT card can call 888-979-9949 to receive a new one.

Steve McClain, director of Communications and Public Affairs for the Kentucky Retail Federation, said increased grocery purchases can have a big impact, especially in rural communities.

“It’s not just the grocery store workers,” McClain explained. “These are dollars that go back to the folks that produce the food, to deliver the food, to the stores.”

Last month, households nationwide reported the lowest levels of food insecurity since the start of the pandemic, according to Census data. But SNAP enrollment continues to spike, with six million more people relying on food benefits compared to 2019.

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One Comment

  1. We have never been able to get food ebt, even when me and my wife were both laid off at the same time! Now with inflation and the cost of food we could really use some help. Only one of us are employed and I have been off work for some time and never collected any unemployment because of my health and to top it all off I can’t draw disability because they say you have to be employed in the last 5 years! The best way to go is a steady employment but that’s hard to get whenever we go from President to a new president here in my ghost town! I’ll bet other Countries get tired of policy changes everytime a new President takes over!

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