DEARBORN — Dearborn Public School parents, even those not enrolled in any public assistance programs, will be getting new or additional food benefits in the coming months.
Michigan announced earlier in February that the state would provide additional food benefits for any students who are eligible for free lunch or breakfast through school and whose school was not entirely open for at least some part of this school year due to the pandemic.
DPS offers free lunch and breakfast to all of its students through a special provision of the National School Lunch Program, and the district has offered entirely remote learning through February of this year. That means all DPS students qualify for the new benefits.
Families that currently have a Bridge Card and receive benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will see the additional amounts automatically added to their cards starting in late March and then periodically through June. Families do not need to apply for this assistance.
Families not currently enrolled in the program will get a new Bridge Card in the mail. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services plans to mail one card per DPS student. Many DPS families also received cards last spring under an earlier version of the Pandemic EBT program, but in that case, families received one card in the name of the oldest DPS student.
Bridge Cards, or EBT, can be used to buy food at numerous Michigan retailers.
The amount of the benefit will vary by month depending on the number of school days and if the child’s school was face-to-face. Families will receive about $127.53 monthly for each eligible child during the time Dearborn was offering remote-only learning and about $77.06 for each child for the months the district is in hybrid learning this school year. Benefits are retroactive to September and will be paid through June.
DPS is not involved in administering SNAP benefits. The district is providing this information as a courtesy to families. Residents with additional questions about the Pandemic EBT program are encouraged to contact MDHHS directly.
The additional SNAP benefits will not impact DPS free weekly student meal distributions. Those will continue even after students start hybrid learning in March, although the distribution day and some distribution sites will change.