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DHSS begins issuing summer food benefits for qualified children today


Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The Department of Human and Social Services (DHSS) will begin issuing benefits for the Summer-Electronic Benefits Transfer (S-EBT) Program for qualified school aged children, today, Thursday, June 20.

As was announced in May, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service officially approved American Samoa’s 2024 Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (S-EBT) plan, which provides $2.5 million for critical nutrition benefits this summer for an estimated 14,464 of American Samoa’s children.

Like the previous Pandemic EBT Programs, awards are not automatically received. American Samoa had to complete an application process and gain approval.

American Samoa initiated successful efforts that resulted in the mandatory federal match for 50% of the administrative costs for the 2024 S-EBT being waived for the Territories.

American Samoa’s 2024 Summer EBT is different in some ways. For example:

  •  A child who is between 5- 18 years old and verified by DOE as being enrolled at any point in time in a public or private school in the 2024- 2025 school year automatically qualifies to receive 2024 S-EBT benefits.
  • Although the Act has established a $40 per month benefit amount per child for 2024, the Act also provides USDA with the authority to adjust benefit levels for American Samoa, Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. For American Samoa, each eligible child qualifies for $177 (calculated at $59/ month for 3 months of the summer break), which is higher than the $120 per child set for the U.S. mainland.
  • The 2024 S-EBT benefits for American Samoa will be issued in the form of food coupons through the DHSS American Samoa Nutrition Assistance Program (ASNAP), printed specifically for the 2024 S-EBT and a new S-EBT identification card will be issued by the ASNAP office.
  • Parents/ guardians are advised that although your child(ren) qualifies for 2024 S-EBT, you have the choice to opt out or decline these benefits by not picking them up or contacting the DHSS ASNAP office to have their name(s) removed from the list of qualified students.
  • S-EBT 2024 will be issued one-time and released to the primary parent/ guardian based on the schedule that will soon be shared by the DHSS ASNAP.
  • Only the individual who is listed as the primary parent/ guardian in DOE and private school student records for the child(ren) who qualifies for S-EBT 2024 may pick up the food coupons for their child(ren).

The program was developed through a collaboration between the Department of Human and Social Services (DHSS) and the Department of Education (DOE).

At the time, Governor Lemanu P.S. Mauga said, “I appreciate USDA’s approval of our application to allow American Samoa to join other states and territories in implementing this new program to help families with school-aged children purchase groceries during the summer when schools are out of session.

“I extend my appreciation to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and the FNS leadership for also approving our request for a waiver of the 50% Administrative Cost match and other flexibilities that allow us to roll out S-EBT for American Samoa’s children.”