BLOOMFIELD, CT (WFSB) – Have you received an unexpected debit card in the mail?
The state has been sending payments to thousands of parents after schools were closed.
The payments are for free or reduce priced meals they never received this school year.
Governor Ned Lamont initially announced the payments back in April, but the state had to work out the logistics of payments. Many parents either didn’t hear the news or forgot, so the debit cards were a pleasant surprise.
“When we received the card in the mail under my son’s name, we were really surprised,” said Christina Guzman-Toro.
Christina Guzman-Toro was surprised when a debit card arrived in her son’s name.
The Department of Social Services sent payments last month to families of students who receive free or reduce-priced school lunches. The one-time payment of $364 is meant to cover the missed lunches.
DSS is paying out an additional $108.5 million in SNAP benefits for lunches, including $34.5 million to 55,000 households already on SNAP, and $70.3 million to another 138,000 households. In all, 287.524 students will see benefits, according to DSS.
Lamont first announced the benefits in April, but the state got additional funding once school was closed for the year, but many parents missed the initial announcement.
DSS deposited payments to SNAP recipients in May, then sent debit cards to parents of kids on Medicaid on June 5. The rest of the cards were sent out two weeks later.
Because the payments are through SNAP, they can only be used on food, but Guzman-Toro says her and her husband have seen their hours reduces, so any help is appreciated.
“This came in a very good time,” Guzman-Torres said.
In schools where all students get free lunch automatically, all kids are eligible for this benefit. A school must participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s national school lunch program to be eligible.