NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfers (P-EBT) are designed to help families cover pandemic-related food expenses. Now, New Mexico will send out over $490,000 in P-EBT to pay for meals for students who missed five or more days of school this spring.

The state intends the funds to help nearly 6,000 New Mexican students who missed out on free or reduced-price meals. The funds will support K-12 students.

If your child missed five or more days of school in February and March of 2022, they may be eligible for reimbursement. The absences must be COVID-19 related, according to the New Mexico Human Services Department (HSD). Eligible students can receive $7.10 per day of absence.

“The goal of this program is not just to reimburse families with school-aged students who had to miss school due to COVID,” Angela Medrano, deputy secretary for HSD, said in a press release, “but to help provide good nutrition to New Mexican families when they need it the most.”

To check if a child is eligible, parents and guardians can go to HSD’s YesNM Portal. The period to check eligibility is from August 4, 2022, to August 11, 2022 (Until then, the website will display an error message). Students do not need to be currently receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to qualify for P-EBT.

For families with children who have already been issued P-EBT cards, the HSD says to keep your existing card. For families newly reporting to the program through their school, HSD will send a new P-EBT card to the address on file.

The state has a dedicated P-EBT helpline for questions. You can reach it at: 1-833-415-0569. If you have questions about your child’s absences, HSD says to contact your child’s school.