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Additional pandemic food assistance on its way for Washington kids

Second round of P-EBT to start late-March for first part of 2020–21 school year

OLYMPIA — Many families in Washington state will soon have another round of food benefits available to them to help buy groceries. Called Pandemic EBT, or P-EBT, these food benefits are available to families with children who have been home from school due to COVID-19 closures or reduced hours and who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals through their school’s National School Lunch program.

The Department of Social and Health Services recently received federal approval to implement a second round of P-EBT for the 2020–21 school year. The first round of benefits, distributed last summer, helped provide food security for nearly 400,000 Washington children. Families will begin receiving the second round of benefits in late-March and through the end of April.

Families whose children already receive free or reduced-price meals do not need to apply for P-EBT. The benefits — ranging from $25 to $123 per child per month, depending on the learning model of the child’s school — will come loaded onto a special P-EBT card mailed automatically to each eligible child. The next round of P-EBT benefits covers September 2020 through January 2021. Future installments will be made directly to eligible children’s P-EBT cards, so families should keep all cards for any additional benefits.

To ensure all eligible children receive the 2020–21 P-EBT benefits, families must complete the free and reduced-price meal program application through their school district, if they have not already, and make sure their current address is on file with the district.

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.

The Public Charge rule does not apply to P-EBT benefits and will not impact immigration status.

Families who have questions about P-EBT benefits can go to or call the P-EBT Contact Center at 833–518–0282 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday (except observed holidays).


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