Governor JB Pritzker announced that starting next month, approximately 1 million children in Illinois, Illinois will receive additional government-funded food benefits worth up to $ 110 million per month.

Following a government request to expand eligibility for the program, the additional food assistance funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service is expected to reach approximately 200,000 more eligible children this school year than last year.

Eligible children automatically receive these benefits on an EBT card that is sent directly to their home. Funds will be distributed by the Illinois Department of Human Services in partnership with the Illinois State Board of Education to students in Illinois eligible for pandemic electronic power transmission assistance.

“Today we’re taking another step closer to ending Illinois hunger with a benefit program that supports approximately 1 million children in our state. Starting next month, eligible families across Illinois will be able to look for a mailed benefit card to give their children extra to provide federal government-funded food services, “said Pritzker. “I am pleased to announce that we will be able to care for approximately 200,000 more children who have previously received this support. Each child has a greater daily benefit than in the past. My government is proud to Illinois will make more federal funding available to make this expansion possible. “

The Illinois P-EBT program delivered nutritional benefits worth more than $ 259 million to approximately 764,000 children during the 2019-2020 school year. Eligible families in Illinois will receive this year’s extended benefits in the coming weeks. Families are paid $ 6.82 for every day the child did not have access to school meals. This is a 19 percent increase from the 2019-2020 school year when the daily benefit was $ 5.70.

“At IDHS, we are committed to ensuring that Illinois school children and their families have access to food aid when needed and continue to seek and maximize opportunities,” said IDHS Secretary Grace B. Hou. “We are proud to be one of 16 states that have received federal approval from the USDA to continue these crucial P-EBT benefits that put food on the table for families in Illinois and bring hundreds of millions of federal dollars to Illinois . “

Through P-EBT, eligible school children receive temporary emergency nutrition benefits loaded onto EBT cards that are used to purchase groceries. Eligible are children who would have received free or reduced-price meals as part of the national school feeding program if their schools had not been closed or had not worked with reduced hours or attendance for at least five consecutive days.

“Research shows that children who are hungry cannot concentrate and study,” said state superintendent of education, Dr. Carmen I. Ayala. “Schools have served students more than 113 million meals since the pandemic began, and the P-EBT builds on that care and commitment to ensure that all children in Illinois meet their nutritional needs. The fact that eligible families have no action and receiving these benefits automatically is a huge sigh of relief. We are proud to be working with other government agencies to achieve this and we are excited to share this good news with our student families across the state. “

Families do not need to apply for this round of P-EBT benefits. In the coming weeks you will receive one P-EBT card for each eligible child. These cards can be used to purchase groceries from EBT authorized retailers, which include most of the major Illinois grocery stores. The cards will be sent to the address the school has on file for the child.

In addition, the Illinois Hunger Ending Commission – a public-private partnership organized by the governor’s office and stakeholders across the state – will release a new “roadmap” to ending hunger in Illinois next month. The upcoming plan focuses on strategies to better connect Illinois people with nutritional aid programs, including P-EBT, and to promote equitable access to food.

The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) is part of the U.S. government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, see