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Parents awaiting pandemic related financial support

Assistance promised by June
school lunch
Posted at 12:29 PM, Sep 13, 2021

COLLIER COUNTY, FLa. — A Collier County parent is looking for her Pandemic - EBT payment that got approved through the Cares Act.

"If you're going to do a program to help us, then do it."

She may not be the only parent in Southwest Florida waiting for answers, months after the PEBT was promised to them. The money helps parents whose kids lost access to free or reduced meals because of distance learning. But Collier County parent Sarah Chacon says she hasn't even received the first payment. The Department of Children and Families was supposed to automatically send the benefits in three payments, starting in April. But when Chacon didn't receive the payments, she reached out to DCF.

"You can do a form online, saying if you haven't gotten it. I did that on the first of June, the first day that form came out," she said. "when I call them, they have to call me back because the line is so busy. So, they give you an option to call you back to tell you where your case is."

DCF determines the benefits based on the number of days students were enrolled in distance learning and did not have access to free or reduced meals. The school district needed to provide that information to the Department of Education. But Chacon says the PEBT hotline claims her case is still under review by the school board.

Collier County Public Schools says the district provided the information needed to the Department of Education before the deadline. You can also visit theDCF website or call the PEBT hotline at 1-833-311-0321.