TAYLOR COUNTY—Summer is in full swing, but before long, families will begin preparations for a return to the classroom. In addition to pencils, notebooks and other school supplies, many students will begin eyeing back to school clothes, something that can become financially stressful for some families.
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), Bureau for Family Assistance have begun accepting school clothing allowance applications, for eligible children enrolled in West Virginia schools.
“Starting a new school year is stressful enough as it is for our children and their parents. In this complicated time, the last thing any family should be worried about is whether or not their children have clothing that fits,” Governor Jim Justice said. “That’s why our wonderful school clothing allowance program is more important now than ever.”
He continued, “I’ve said over and over how much I love our kids. This program gives so many of our kids a chance to be comfortable and to feel good about themselves, so they can focus on being their best in every way and excel in the classroom.”
According to the DHHR, families with children enrolled in the WV WORKS cash assistance program will automatically receive school clothing allowance vouchers for each school-age child in the home by the end of June.
In addition, parents or guardians of children in the foster care system and children ages four to 18 who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, who are enrolled in school will receive the benefit.
The above listed groups must qualify with a household income under 130 percent of the federal poverty level.
Furthermore, families who received school clothing allowance vouchers in 2021 and currently receive Medicaid should receive a School Clothing Allowance application in the mail by late June.
Others not listed above may be eligible for the program, on an income-based scale. Families with just one person in the household must make no more than $1,396 a month, while two-person households have a limit of $1,888 monthly.
A family of three cannot make more than $2,379; a family of four $2,871; a five-person household’s limit is $3,363; and a family of six cannot bring in more than $3,855.
For those in a seven-person home, income must be no more than $4,347, while a family of eight cannot make over $4,839. Equally, a nine-person household can make up to $5,331 monthly and a family of ten $5,823 monthly and still qualify.
Applicants needing to update their information, including mailing address, or those wishing to apply for the school clothing allowance can do so by visiting www.wvpath.org.org or by calling DHHR’s Customer Services Center at 1-877-716-1212.
Applications will be accepted through July 31 at 5:00 p.m. or as designated by the WV DHHR, and verification of income for the month of July must be submitted with the application.
The School Clothing Allowance program provides a cash benefit for eligible West Virginia children to purchase clothing appropriate for school such as pants, shirts, skirts, dresses, shoes, coats, underwear and other basic items. Piece goods may be purchased to make clothing if the family desires.
Recipients will receive an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card in place of a traditional voucher. However, parents or guardians of children in the foster care system will receive the School Clothing Allowance benefit as a check.
“This system change was implemented in 2021 to allow for both online transactions and increased choice of vendors when purchasing school clothing or piece goods,” revealed the WV DHHR. “The EBT card will operate like a debit card and can be used at any retailer who accepts RBT cash transactions.”
Benefits are available to for use on the Mountain State EBT Card as of Friday, July 1. But before using the benefits, families are encouraged to check with the store in which they are shopping to ensure their acceptance of EBT, as not all stores do.
A list of retailers accepting EBT cash purchases as well as more information about the program can be found at https://dhhr.wv.gov/ebt/cardholders/Pages/School-Clothing-Allowance.aspx.