AUSTIN (KXAN) — A fourth round of Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) food benefits for Texans has been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to a state release.

The benefits will help Texas families with children who lost access to free or reduced-price school meals due to COVID-19.

The release says a student must be approved for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program or have COVID-related absences, virtual attendance or campus closures to be eligible.

The P-EBT is based on the number of days the student didn’t receive in-person instruction due to COVID-19. Families will receive $7.10 each approved day. Receiving free meals at school does not automatically qualify a child for P-EBT, the release says.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission received federal approval to provide more than $626 million in benefits to approximately 2.1 million eligible children in Texas for the 2021-22 school year. To date, HHSC has distributed approximately $6.13 billion in P-EBT food benefits to Texas families, the release says.

Families who currently receive SNAP, and those who have received P-EBT in the past, will receive benefits on their existing Lone Star Card or P-EBT Card. Eligible families who do not currently receive SNAP and have never received P-EBT will be mailed a notice with a claim code because additional information is needed to issue benefits, the release says.

Some families will start receiving benefits as early as April 18. Other families may receive their benefits beginning in July, according to the release.