LANSING — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is automatically issuing the additional benefits now through the end of March for families with children whose access to school meals has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Monthly payments will continue through June for some 810,000 Michigan children.
Students in grades pre-kindergarten through 12 are eligible if they qualify for free or reduced-price lunches at school and in-person learning is not available at their school or is not available on a full-time basis.
Families will receive an estimated $127.53 monthly for each eligible child who has no in-person classes and attends a school that is fully virtual and about $77.06 for each eligible child who attends a school with a hybrid schedule of in-person and remote learning. Monthly benefits will vary based on the number of school days in each month.
Benefits are retroactive to September, with assistance from September through February paid this month. Payments will be paid automatically, so families do not need to apply to receive the assistance.
Households that already receive food assistance will receive the Pandemic-EBT payments on their Bridge Cards. Families that do not already receive food assistance will receive Pandemic-EBT cards in the mail that they can use to purchase food.
The food assistance benefits will go to Michigan families with students ages 5-18 who are enrolled in the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) program for students eligible for free or reduced-price school meals.
Tens of millions in aid available to help pay winter heating bills
Michigan residents have access to tens of millions in federal, state and local dollars to help pay winter heating bills. The cost of heat during an especially cold winter in the midst of the pandemic hit customers hard, and there is funding available to help pay those bills.
People who are struggling with energy bills should call 2-1-1, a free service that connects people with nonprofit agencies in communities across the state. They can also go to the 2-1-1 website.
Other ways to get help include:
- Apply for State Emergency Relief (SER) on the MI Bridges webpage.
- Contact Consumers Energy at 800-477-5050 to make payment arrangements.
- Apply for a Home Heating Credit via the Michigan Department of Treasury’s website.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Consumers Energy are teaming up to make residents aware of these resources, after two weeks of especially cold temperatures in February caused furnaces to run more often than usual.
Consumers Energy is providing support to pay for winter heating bills to families struggling through a pandemic and cold snap. The new federal stimulus and other sources are making tens of millions of dollars available to help with energy bills, said Lauren Youngdahl Snyder, the company’s vice president of customer experience.