Effect of Pandemic EBT on Measures of Food Hardship   [open pdf - 0B]

From the Introduction: "To alleviate the effects of lost daily school meals and to help households with children meet their nutritional needs, Congress authorized a new program: Pandemic EBT [electronic benefits transfer] (P-EBT). This program provides families with a voucher to purchase groceries for an amount equal in value to the school meals missed from the start of school closures to the end of the 2019-20 school year. [...] In this paper we offer a preliminary analysis of the effect of the P-EBT program on food hardship. We leverage variation in the rollout of the P-EBT program across states from April through July to identify the effect of P-EBT on three food hardship measures: (1) food insecurity, (2) whether it was sometimes or often the case that there was not enough food, and (3) very low food security among children. [...] We find that P-EBT had two key impacts among low-income households with school-age children:1 it substantially reduced the share of adults reporting that children in their households did not have enough to eat, especially during the first week after benefits were paid; and it reduced household food insecurity and the likelihood that household members sometimes or often did not have enough to eat."

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