Only 5,834 have applied so far

Application deadline moved to June 25

Of an estimated 11,650 children that are expected to benefit from the Pandemic-Electronic Benefits Transfer program, only 5,834 P-EBT applications have so far been submitted as of last June 15.

Because of this, the Department of Community & Culture Affairs’ Nutrition Assistance Program and the Public School System’s Child Nutrition Program have extended the P-EBT applications submission deadline to June 25, 2011. The original deadline was last Friday, June 11.

P-EBT is a federal program that will provide the Marianas an estimated $11.1 million that will benefit approximately 11,650 children. PSS’ CNP and DCCA’s NAP are partnering to administer the program.

NAP administrator Walter Macaranas said Thursday that the reason for the deadline extension was that dozens of households failed to submit their applications on time and have requested the State Board of Education for the extension.

With the new June 25 deadline, P-EBT benefits are now expected to be distributed this August and not next month as they had originally anticipated, Macaranas said. He said the definite schedule and details of the distribution will be published at a later date.

He said P-EBT applications will be accepted until 4:30pm, Friday, June 25, at the PSS CNP office at house number 1251, located on the street near the Medicaid Office on Capital Hill. Applications will also be accepted at the NAP office in As Lito by 4:30pm of June 25.

“There will be no further application extensions,” Macaranas said.

As of last Tuesday, the CNP office has received 5,313 P-EBT applications on Saipan, 288 on Tinian, and 233 on Rota, for a total of 5,834.

Macaranas said children who live in the same household are included in the same application.

“If a household has four children, the household should submit only one application, not four applications,” Macaranas said.

PSS CNP director Dale Roberts said Wednesday that of the 5,834 applications they’ve received, they have already verified 4,884. Roberts said they are continuing to process applications and will be progressing with remaining and incoming applications.

Roberts said they are also addressing the applications with issues that will require CNP staff to contact applicant households to resolve those issues. He said the common issues encountered are those with individuals who signed the application but were not registered as a parent or guardian on the school’s record.

Verified applications, which are applications that have been processed, are published in the CNP page of the PSS website, which lists the application numbers that are considered approved. Households are urged not to call the CNP office to follow up on their applications, but are requested to visit the PSS website regularly. “As staffing is limited, calling the CNP office to follow up slows down the processing,” Roberts said.

The CNP office will be making calls to households that have issues in their application.

P-EBT is a program that provides benefits to school-aged children who lost access to school meals because their school is closed or operating with reduced in-person attendance due to COVID-19 covering the school year 2020-21.

A school-aged child is defined as a child enrolled in a public or private school beginning from pre-school to Grade 12 for school year 2020-21.

Roberts said all schools had reduced in-person attendance or were closed for at least five consecutive days. Therefore, he said, all children in pre-school to Grade 12 will be eligible for P-EBT based on their respective school’s predominant schedule such as the number of closed days and the number of reduced in-person per month for school year 2020-21.

P-EBT benefits will be retroactive to the start of school year 2020-21.

Macaranas said P-EBT is extended to children enrolled in Early Head Start and daycare, but only those who are part of households receiving NAP benefits.

“Essentially, what this means is that P-EBT is extended to NAP-enrolled children under age 6,” he said.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com
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