One of the consequences of COVID-19 is the closure of schools. Unfortunately, many students depend on school breakfast and lunch for part of their meals. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act has authorized a temporary assistance program for households with children affected by school closures during the public health emergency that was declared on January 27, 2020.
The Washington Department of Social and Health Services and the Washington Office of Superintendent and Public Instruction will issue P-EBT benefits to current Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households and non-SNAP households, which include children eligible for free and reduced-price school meals, through the State's SNAP EBT card system.
Washington estimates that it will issue $91.9 million to 230,391 students in SNAP households and $99.3 million to 248,763 students in non-SNAP households for school closures extending from March 13, 2020, through June 19, 2020, a total of 70 days.
If a child is eligible the amount depends on how many children in your home get free or reduced-price school meals. The maximum benefit is $399 per child. Families with multiple children will get one EBT card. For example: if you have 2 children, you will get one card with $798.
P-EBT Benefits are equal to $5.70 per day and are based on the number of school days that school was closed. A rough estimate of benefits are:
- March - $68.40
- April - $125.40
- May - $119.70
- June - $85.50
There are two ways to get P-EBT benefits. First families with food stamps will automatically receive the benefits on their existing card between June 28 and July 7. Families who qualify but do not have an EBT card will need to complete a simple application before August 31 or the beginning of the new school year (whichever is later).
To apply for P-EBT go to www.WashingtonConnection.org and choose Pandemic EBT - Emergency School Meals Program box in the food assistance section or call DSHS at (877) 501-2233. To apply you will need the name of your child's school district, the first and last name of the child as it appears on school enrollment records, and the child's date of birth.
The implementation of P-EBT is in line with USDA's commitment to keep Americans safe, secure, and healthy during this national emergency and to keep kids fed when schools are closed. USDA is working with states and local authorities to ensure schools and other program operators can continue to feed children.
Program actions include:
•Allow parents and guardians to pick up meals to bring home to their kids
•Temporarily waive meal times requirements to make it easier to pick up multiple-days worth of meals at once
•Allow meals be served in non-congregate settings to support social distancing
•Waive the requirement that afterschool meals and snacks served through certain programs be accompanied by educational activities to minimize exposure to the novel coronavirus
•Allow states to serve free meals to children in all areas
•Launch a new coronavirus webpage to proactively inform the public about USDA's efforts to keep children and families fed
•Providing more than five million meals a week through public-private partnership Meals to You
•Increasing access to online purchasing by expanding the online purchasing pilot to more than half of all SNAP households
•Debuting Meals for Kids interactive site finder
•Allowing states to issue emergency supplemental SNAP benefits totalling more than $2 billion per month to increase recipients' purchasing power
•Collecting solutions to feeding children impacted through email@example.com
•Providing more than 2,800 administrative flexibilities across programs to feed children and help families
These actions and more are part of USDA's focus on service during the COVID-19 outbreak. To learn more about FNS response to COVID-19 visit www.fns.usda.gov/coronavirus.