WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) approval of the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Service’s plan to implement a Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) program. The plan will provide additional funds via P-EBT credits to current Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households and non-SNAP households with children participating in a free or reduced school lunch programs. Households will receive benefits equal to the cost of free school meals according to the federal reimbursement rate.

“With schools closed, Ohio families who rely on free and reduced meal programs are feeling the financial strain of this crisis even more,” said Brown. “This funding is a great first step toward ensuring these children are getting the meals they need during this pandemic.”

Brown has continued to push to improve access to critical nutrition programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last month, at Brown and Sen. Rob Portman’s request, the USDA approved the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services’ (ODJFS) request to operate the Disaster Household Distribution Program. The announcement came after the senators were joined by Ohio House Members in a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue urging swift approval of ODJFS’ request to operate the program.

In April, he joined his colleagues in sending a letter to the USDA, calling for additional methods of delivery to help SNAP recipients receive their benefits safely.

Brown also joined a bipartisan group of his colleagues in a letter calling on the USDA to work immediately to ensure SNAP participants can receive home food delivery and curbside pickup during the COVID-19 pandemic.