Many families in Washington state will soon have help to pay for groceries while children are home for the summer.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently approved the Department of Social and Health Services’ applications for federal COVID-19 relief funding to provide a fourth and final round of assistance for summer 2023 and for children under age 6.
Families will start to receive these benefits beginning June 30 and through the end of the summer.
The first three rounds of Pandemic EBT or P-EBT benefits helped provide food security for more than 600,000 Washington children in the past three years. With inflation continuing to increase the costs of food, gas and other basic needs, eligible families will receive valuable assistance that can go a long way to help relieve hunger this summer.
P-EBT benefits are available to families with young children who are eligible for Basic Food benefits as well as school-aged children who are eligible for free or reduced-price school meal programs. P-EBT benefits can be used to shop at any grocery store, farmers market or food retailer that accepts EBT card payments. The Public Charge rule does not apply to P-EBT benefits and getting P-EBT will not impact immigration status.
The Children Under 6 and Summer 2023 P-EBT programs will be available as follows:
- P-EBT for Children Under 6 program (distributed beginning June 30 and through the summer): Qualifying children under age 6 who live in a household that receives Basic Food benefits (the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or Washington state’s Food Assistance Program) may receive $43.88 for each month they received Basic Food assistance from September 2022 — April 2023 and a prorated amount for May 1–11, 2023 (the day the federal COVID-19 public health emergency ended).
- Summer 2023 P-EBT program (distributed beginning July and through the summer): Qualifying school-aged children will receive a one-time lump sum of $120 per child to cover the summer period through July and August 2023. School-aged children enrolled in Washington state public K-12 schools through June 2023 who are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals are eligible for Summer 2023 P-EBT benefits, including seniors who graduated in 2023.
Due to the expiration of the public health emergency, children under age 6 will not receive Summer P-EBT.
Both these benefits programs are separate from a P-EBT 2022–23 School Year program, for which Washington state did not apply.
P-EBT benefits for all eligible children will be loaded onto a special P-EBT card that was mailed automatically to each eligible child in the previous year. Newly eligible children will receive new cards in the mail. Families who have misplaced or gotten rid of previous P-EBT cards can order new ones by calling the P-EBT Contact Center at 833–518–0282.
P-EBT benefits do not replace any food assistance program already offered, including free summer meals or meals provided in child care centers.
Families are encouraged to continue participating in a summer meal program at their local schools and community locations, even if they receive P-EBT benefits.
In Spanish, families can search the Spanish-language Summer Meals locator online, call 877–8-HAMBRE (877–842–6273) or text “Comida” to 304–304.
For more information, please visit freesummermeals.org.