With schools closed for the majority of the last 18 months, many families struggled to put food on the table in Oregon. The families most affected were those with children who received free or reduced lunches in school and even during the summer.

Any students eligible for free lunches will receive payments monthly to make up for the food they didn’t receive.

What are the Oregon Payments to Children?

Initially, Oregon children were set to receive $1,100 for the missed lunches during the school year and summer, but thanks to a federal government supplement, they’ll now get an additional $389. This means each eligible child will receive up to $1,500 to buy food and drinks. 

Who Qualifies?

To be eligible for the Pandemic EBT funds, children must meet one of the following:

  • Be enrolled in the free or reduced lunch program at their school
  • Be enrolled in a school that provides free lunch to all students no matter their income
  • Receive SNAP benefits between the ages of 0 – 5
  • Receive SNAP benefits and provide proof their school or daycare was closed for a majority of the year if over the age of 6

If you aren’t sure if your child’s school qualifies, click here to find out. 

How Will Children Receive the Benefits?

Even if they don’t currently receive SNAP benefits, all children will receive the benefits via an EBT card. But if you receive SNAP benefits, the Pandemic EBT funds will automatically be added to your SNAP card.

If you don’t receive SNAP benefits, each child in your family will receive an EBT card with their money on it. The Oregon government started releasing funds at the end of July and will continue paying the funds monthly until they are all paid up. The funds are meant to cover a retroactive period of missed meals from last year.

How to use the Pandemic EBT Funds

You can use the pandemic EBT funds at any grocery store to buy food and drinks like you would SNAP benefits. This includes:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Meat or poultry
  • Dairy 
  • Grains
  • Snacks
  • Non-alcoholic drinks

How to Opt Out of Oregon Payments to Children

It’s not a requirement to accept the funds. If your family doesn’t need the funds or your children attend a school that every student automatically qualifies, you can opt-out by emailing ebt.schoolmeals@dhsoha.state.or.us. Note, however, that declining the funds doesn’t make another child eligible.

Final Thoughts

If you live in Oregon, check your school’s status to see if your children are eligible for pandemic EBT funds. The funds can help supplement the cost of groceries and make up for the free meals eligible students didn’t receive while the school wasn’t in session.

Keep in mind, homeschooled children are not eligible – only children who would normally have attended school in person but couldn’t because it was closed are eligible.