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SNAP benefits now available for families whose children qualify for free and reduced-cost school meals

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture gave Texas the go-ahead Monday to distribute emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits to families with children eligible for free and reduced-cost school meals, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, announced in a statement.

The program — known as Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer — is meant to replace the meals children would normally get at school. About two-thirds of Texas schoolchildren are eligible for free and reduced-cost meals at school, Cornyn said.

Each child should be eligible to get about $285 in benefits, said Rachel Cooper, a senior policy analyst with the Austin-based Center for Public Policy Priorities, a left-leaning think tank.

Families who already receive SNAP should see that amount show up on their account automatically. Those who don’t have SNAP benefits should get a Pandemic-EBT card, which works like a debit card, in the mail after submitting their application, Cooper said.