P-EBT Information

Pandemic EBT 2.0 Information

If you need this information in another language, please call 1-833-518-0282
Si necesita estainformación en otro idioma, llame al 1-833-518-0282

The federal government launched Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) as a new option in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Pandemic EBT provides food benefits to eligible families in order to replace meals that students would have received, if not for disruptions to in-person instruction or school facility closure.

Pandemic EBT benefits issued in May-August of 2020 were meant to replace meals from the school year 2019–20. Pandemic EBT "2.0" will provide food benefits to replace meals missed during the 2020–21 school year.

Click the following link for Frequently Asked Questions:  DSHS P-EBT Frequently Asked Questions 
(translated into multiple languages)

Who is eligible for P-EBT 2.0?

Children who normally have access to the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) and are registered/enrolled at a school in Washington state that:

     1.     Has been closed or has reduced attendance for 5 or more consecutive days as a result of the                             COVID-19 public health emergency during the 2020-2021 school year, and 
Determined the child is eligible for free or reduced-price school meals

I already receive food assistance. Do I automatically qualify for P-EBT?

Most children active on food assistance are automatically certified for free school meals, but they don’t automatically qualify for P-EBT benefits. P-EBT eligibility will depend on the school the child attends and their learning model.

The P-EBT program provides food benefits to eligible students to replace the cost of meals that students would have received if not for the loss of in-person instruction or school closures during School Year 2020-21. Please review the eligibility questions below for P-EBT eligibility information.

How is this different than last school year?

The 2019-20 school year P-EBT program originally provided food benefits to eligible school-aged children for the months of March, April, May, and June 2020. Households applied for these benefits and, if determined eligible, they received a standard benefit amount issued by lump sum on a (Quest) EBT card.

Washington State has received federal approval to issue P-EBT benefits for children in school for the 2020-21 school year from September 2020 to June 2021. We automated the eligibility process to get more households the assistance they need during the COVID-19 public health emergency. This means households do not have to apply for the 2020-21 P-EBT program.

If I get P-EBT benefits, will it affect my immigration status or make me a public charge?

No. Benefits are provided to the child and immigration is not required to apply for this program.

My child gets lunches at school or participates in the Free Grab & Go Meals. Can I still qualify for P-EBT?

Yes. P-EBT benefits are additional food benefits. Children may continue to receive grab-and-go meals at school or community sites or emergency food at COVID-19 emergency feeding sites offered at community locations, even if they are receiving P-EBT benefits. 

My family gets $0 in food assistance. Do I automatically qualify for P-EBT?

Some families get a $0 food benefit amount and keep their case open for access to other resources. Families that receive $0 in food assistance are not automatically certified for free school meals and must apply for free or reduced-price meals using the instructions below.

My situation has changed and I now might be eligible for free or reduced-price meals.  How do I apply?

To apply for free or reduced-price meals through the Stanwood Camano School District, please visit:
Free & Reduced Applications & Information.  Be sure to submit ONLY ONE application per household. You will be notified by email if the application is approved or denied.

My children attend Saratoga Parent Partnership School.  Do they qualify for P-EBT?

Yes, P-EBT is available to children enrolled in and receiving education services in a school and would normally receive free or reduced-price school meals through the NSLP or SBP if the school wasn’t closed or had reduced attendance. 

My children are home-schooled.  Do they qualify for P-EBT?

No. P-EBT is available ONLY to children enrolled in and receiving education services in a school and would normally receive free or reduced-price school meals through the NSLP or SBP if the school wasn’t closed or had reduced attendance. 

How do I find out if my child is eligible for P-EBT benefits?

Eligible children will receive a notice and a P-EBT card with their name on it.  We anticipate the notice to be sent to eligible children beginning in late March 2021.  The P-EBT card will be mailed shortly after.  Families should keep their cards as more benefits may be added later if their school continues to be closed or have reduced hours. 

Why will it take so long to receive the P-EBT card?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has recommended states stagger issuances to avoid local grocery store supply and demand issues. While you are waiting for your card to arrive, we recommend seeing if you qualify for other benefits. 

How do I get P-EBT benefits for the 2020-2021 school year?

Eligible families do not need to apply to get P-EBT benefits for this school year. Each eligible child will receive a P-EBT card mailed directly to eligible families without having to apply online.

What address will the new P-EBT card be mailed to?

P-EBT cards will be mailed to the address on file with the school. Contact your school’s office to ensure they have your current mailing address.

Families submitting school meal applications with a current address should also update the address with the school.  School meal systems and student information systems may not be the same. 

Will my benefits be backdated to the beginning of the school year?

Yes. If a child is determined eligible, we will issue P-EBT benefits back to the beginning of the 2020-21 school year or the month the school became eligible and through January 2021. Benefits for these months will be issued in March 2021; however, families may not receive their card until the end of April. The amounts may vary for each child based on their respective school learning models. Benefits for February through the end of the school year will be issued every other month.

What do I need to do when the new P-EBT card arrives in the mail?

Follow the instructions that come with your P-EBT card and create your secure Personal Identification Number or PIN.  Keep your card! If your school stays in a remote learning environment, has reduced attendance days, or is closed due to COVID-19, we may add more benefits to your card. 

Should I keep my P-EBT card?

Yes. Additional benefits will be administered later in the year. Cards should be kept in a safe place.

Can I put these benefits on my existing food EBT card?

No. The P-EBT is a unique program and these benefits will be kept separately from your other benefits available on your EBT card. 

My child didn't receive a notice or P-EBT card.  What should I do?

If you have not received your card by May 2021, check with your child’s school by calling the office manager to ensure they have your current mailing address. It is possible that a P-EBT card was mailed to an old address. Or, if your address is not the problem, you can call the P-EBT Contact Center at 833-518-0282.

I don't have a confirmed address with the school.  How do I get my P-EBT card?

If your family is facing homelessness (McKinney-Vento) and your child is eligible for P-EBT, your P-EBT card will be available for pickup through the District Office at 26920 Pioneer Highway Stanwood, WA 98292.

We do not need these benefits.  Can I decline them?

We encourage households determined eligible for P-EBT to use the benefits for their family and to help boost the local economy. Benefits are not transferrable and cannot be gifted or donated. If you still wish to decline the benefits, you may destroy the card or return the card to the address on the back of the card. Benefits will be automatically removed after 274 days of non-use.  

Who do I call for P-EBT questions?

All P-EBT eligibility questions may be directed to the P-EBT Contact Center at 833-518-0282 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday (except observed holidays).

P-EBT benefits are not covering all my costs. I need more assistance. Who do I contact?

If you need more food assistance or cash assistance, you can call the Department of Social and Health Services to apply for benefits at 877-501-2233 or visit www.washingtonconnection.org. If you need emergency food assistance, call 2-1-1.

Are there any other food benefits available?

The OSPI Organizations providing Meals Map can help families find locations serving meals to children.  Participating in these meals does not prevent eligible children from getting P-EBT benefits. 

Contact your local school district to learn about free meal site locations in your area.  These meal programs are available to all children 1 to 18 years of age, regardless of what school they attend. 

You can go to washingtonconnection.org to see if you qualify to get Basic Food benefits.

If you have any younger children, you may also qualify for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, which provides food assistance to children up to the age of 5 and pregnant and breastfeeding mothers:

Learn more at www.dshs.wa.gov/pebt or call the P-EBT Contact Center at 1-833-518-0282 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday (except observed holidays) if you have additional questions.

If you need this information in another language, please call 1-833-518-0282.

Si necesita esta información en otro idioma, llame al 1-833-518-0282.