Washington families can get help to buy food during school closures

Pandemic EBT available early July for children whose schools closed due to COVID-19

  • Wednesday, June 10, 2020 1:31pm
  • News

Because schools have been closed due to COVID-19, families in Washington state will soon have food benefits available to them to help buy groceries while children have been home from school.

Called Pandemic EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer), or P-EBT, these food benefits are available to families with children in grades K-12 who are eligible for schools’ free or reduced-price meal programs, according to a news release Wednesday from state Department of Social and Health Services. The Public Charge rule does not apply to P-EBT benefits and will not impact immigration status.

The Department of Social and Health Services received federal approval to implement P-EBT and is partnering with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to distribute these benefits by early July.

“Many students rely on their school for nutritious meals during the day,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal said in the news release. “These benefits will help families most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis to continue to have access to nutritious meals.”

“I believe food is often our best medicine,” said DSHS Secretary Cheryl Strange. “Every bit of support we can provide families to help them achieve their full potential is critically important, especially during this time.”

Most families who already receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, also known as SNAP or Basic Food in Washington state, and whose children already receive free or reduced-price meals do not need to apply. The P-EBT benefits – a one-time amount up to $399 per eligible child in each household – automatically will be deposited onto existing EBT cards in early July.

Families with children who become eligible for free and reduced-price meals after their school closed may get less than $399 per child. This depends on when a family applied for Basic Food benefits or when they completed a household income application with their school district.

Other families, including those whose children attend a school where meals are free for all students, will need to apply. Families with children who are newly eligible for free or reduced-price school meals must fill out a meal application with their school district before June 30 and before they apply for P-EBT.

P-EBT benefits do not replace any Child Nutrition Program already offered, and families are encouraged to continue participating in grab-n-go meals or emergency food programs at their local schools and community locations, even if they receive P-EBT benefits.

Families with children who are eligible and approved by their school district for free or reduced-price meals and who do not currently get Basic Food benefits, must apply online at washingtonconnection.org for P-EBT before Aug. 31 or the start of the 2020-2021 school year—whichever is later. The website is available in English and Spanish.

Families who prefer to apply by phone, who need an interpreter or who have other questions about P-EBT benefits can call the DSHS Customer Service Contact Center at 877-501-2233 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday (except observed holidays).


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bothell-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bothell-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

File photo
State Supreme Court strikes down $30 car-tab initiative

Justices unanimously agreed that voter-approved Initiative 976 is unconstitutional.

A suspect in a carjacking hangs almost 60 feet up in a tree after climbing it to avoid police on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020 near Mill Creek, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
After gunfire, Bothell carjacking suspect climbs a tree

He allegedly passed a trooper at 114 mph on a motorcycle, crashed, stole a car, fled gunshots and climbed 60 feet.

Hilary Franz (left) and Sue Kuehl Pederson
Wildfires, forest health are key issues in race to lead DNR

Republican Sue Kuehl Pederson is challenging incumbent Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz.

power grid electricity power lines blackouts PG&E (Shutterstock)
State extends moratorium on some electric, gas shutoffs

Investor-owned electric and natural gas utilities in WA can’t disconnect customers through April.

Cecil Lacy Jr. (Family photo)
Court: New trial in case of man who told police ‘Can’t breathe’

Cecil Lacy Jr. of Tulalip died in 2015 while in police custody.

A Sept. 10 satellite image shows smoke from U.S. wildfires blanketing the majority of the West Coast. (European Space Agency)
University of Washington professors talk climate change, U.S.-China relations

Downside for climate policy supporters is it can risk alienating moderate or right-leaning voters.

Sightseers at a Snoqualmie Falls viewpoint adjacent to the Salish Lodge & Spa on Feb. 19, 2020. Natalie DeFord/staff photo
25 COVID cases linked to Salish Lodge

Public Health is urging anyone who visited the lodge to monitor for symptoms or get tested.

The nose of the 500th 787 Dreamliner at the assembly plant in Everett on Sept. 21, 2016. (Kevin Clark / Herald, file)
Report: Boeing will end 787 Dreamliner production in Everett

Boeing declined comment on a Wall Street Journal story saying the passenger jet’s assembly will move to South Carolina.

Car hits hydrant and power pole in Bothell

Luckily there were no injuries

Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Surge in consumer spending eases state budget challenges

A jump in tax collections cuts a projected $9 billion shortfall in half, acccording to new forecast.

Rendering of the completed boathouse. Courtesy photo/City of Kenmore
Kenmore project will bring public rowing to Rhododendron Park

The project will create a boathouse for both public and school district use

High speed rail and hub cities explored in Cascadia Corridor study

A new paper outlines a potential plan for the region.