Emergency Food Supplements

Created on: 
Mar 31 2020
Revised May 3, 2021
Note: Pandemic EBT benefits ended as of 9/30/2020.

Purpose:

This section lists emergency rules related to food assistance programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

WAC 388-437-0002 – What is the minimum emergency food assistance allotment an assistance unit may receive?

WAC 388-437-0005 - Changes to food assistance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

WAC 388-437-0010 - Pandemic EBT Benefits (Ended as of 9/30/2020)

WAC 388-437-0020 - Availability of Pandemic EBT benefits (Ended as of 9/30/2020)

  • Clarifying Information

Clarifying Information - WAC 388-437-0002WAC 388-437-0005

NOTE: Emergency Food Supplements were issued in the months of March 2020 to May 2021. Ongoing supplements are subject to federal approval.

Supplemental Issuance

  • Households on food assistance are eligible for a supplemental benefit issuance to increase their benefits to the maximum allotment for their household size starting with the month of March 2020 and will continue on a month to month basis.
    • Supplements may continue if the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) approves and the federal public health proclamation and state disaster declaration continues.
  • Beginning April 2021, all households, eligible to receive a supplement, will receive a minimum $95 emergency supplement.
Example: Tuyen was approved in April 2021 for the maximum food allotment of $234. They will receive an emergency supplement of $95, for a total of $329 on their EBT card.
Example: Leo was approved in April 2021 for a food allotment of $196. They are normally eligible for an emergency supplement of $38. Since this is less than $95, they will receive an emergency supplement of $95, for a total of $291 on their EBT card.
  • Households that qualify for a supplement include:
    • Households on TFA, WASHCAP, SNAP and FAP.
    • Approved applications regardless of their application date (i.e. prorated benefits).
  • Staff will continue to determine the correct regular eligibility amount for the household..
    • Historic overpayments/underpayments will need to be reviewed to see if the household received the maximum allotment for the month.
    • From March 2020 through March 2021, households cannot receive more benefits than the maximum allotment for their household size.
    • Starting in April 2021, households will receive the maximum allotment for their household size, or $95 minimum emergency supplement.
  • Households eligible for a zero-benefit, due to income, are not eligible for an emergency supplement.
  • These supplements are not subject to overpayment, unless the household is found ineligible for Basic Food.
Example: Tomas applied for benefits on April 16, 2021 and completed an interview the same day. The worker processes and approves the case with prorated benefits in April 2021 of $97 and full allotment of $234 in May 2021. Tomas receives combined issuance of $331 on his EBT card the next day. After the system delivers the mass issuance, an additional $137 emergency supplement will appear on Tomas’s EBT to ensure he receives the maximum food amount of $234 for April 2021. Tomas may be eligible for a $95 minimum emergency supplement for May 2021 if FNS approves emergency supplements.
  • Households that receive less than the maximum due to a recoupment are still eligible to receive a minimum $95 emergency supplement based on their full benefit amount.
Example: Heather was approved in April 2021 for the maximum food allotment of $234, but due to an overpayment, $23 is recouped each month. Heather receives $211 per month in regular food allotment. She will be eligible for a minimum $95 emergency supplement based on her original amount of $234.

Automatic Issuance:

An automatic mass supplement was issued for March and/or April 2020 benefits to all households on the evening of April 3, 2020.

  • Review the Aces.Online Benefit Issuance history to see when the emergency supplements were issued. Emergency supplements are coded as FS/EBT-Supplemental Issuance – 863.
  • Notices were suppressed and not required for Emergency Supplements.

After April 16, 2020, the ACES system automatically determined the emergency supplement amount owed to the recipient after approving an application or reinstatement in overnight batch.

  • Staff only need to complete a manual BEG when adding a person. See Worker Responsibilities.
    • Emergency supplements will show in Aces.Online as FS/EBT-Supplemental Issuance – 863 after overnight batch.
  • Mass supplements will be performed at the beginning of  each month as we receive FNS approval.
    • We will confirm that the federal and state public health emergencies are intact one day of the month.
    • The mass supplement dates may vary depending on the availability of our system and FNS approval.
Example: Jon and his partner were certified from January 2021 to December 2021 to receive $200 per month in food assistance due to household income. Their issuance date is the 11th of each month. As the maximum allotment for a two-person household is $430 per month, Jon and his partner will receive $230 emergency supplement each month FNS approves of the emergency supplements.
Example:  Phoebe applies for food assistance on April 5, 2021 after she lost her job. The worker interviews her on April 17, 2021, determines her eligible and approves the prorated benefit amount of $168 from the date of application. The system will automatically issue emergency supplements in overnight batch for a minimum $95 emergency supplement.  She would normally receive a $66 emergency supplement to bring her to the maximum $234 standard for a one person household in April 2021.
Example:  Peter works and normally receives $154 per month in food assistance. Peter forgot to complete his March 2021 MCR. He received a termination notice that his benefits are closed as of March 2021. Peter calls to complete his MCR on April 16, 2021 reporting no changes. Peter asks about an extra $80 on his EBT card. The worker explains the supplement was issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as we are issuing emergency supplements. The extra $80 was a supplement for March 2021.

The worker reinstates Peter for April 2021 and he is still eligible for $154 per month in food assistance. The system will automatically issue an emergency supplement in overnight batch for a minimum emergency supplement of $95 for April 2021, available the following day.  

Manual BEGS

  • Staff need to review cases for a Manual BEG only when adding a new person to the assistance unit.
  • A new BEG type Emergency Supplement – ES was created to provide supplements manually for cases needing to add a person.
    • This is important to track the funds for this program.
  • Letters won't generate when the BEG Emergency Supplement– ES is released.
    • We don't require a notice for these emergency supplements.

Worker Responsibilities - WAC 388-437-0005

Confirming automatic mass issuances:

Staff can confirm the automatic benefits by reviewing Benefit Issuance history in Aces.Online. The emergency supplements for the month will display as FS/EBT – Supplemental Issuance (863).

Emergency supplements issuance dates vary from month to month. We require FNS approval on a month to month basis and the issuance dates may vary depending on approval and system availability.

After April 16, 2020, households finalized or reinstated will receive the emergency supplement in overnight batch. Advise the household that if they qualify for an emergency supplement, it will be available the following day.

Note: If the household is a SNAP/FAP mixed household, each month will display a FS/EBT – Supplemental Issuance (863) for a SNAP supplement and a FAP supplement.

Manual BEGs:

After April 16, 2020, staff are no longer required to process a manual BEG unless they are adding a person(s) to the AU. Follow the ACES Manual - How do I add a person to an existing Assistance Unit (AU)?

Note: You may be prompted for either soft edit:
1598, " REASON SHOULD NOT BE USED IF AUTO WILL OR DID ISSUE THE SUPPLEMENT"
0294, "SHOULD AMOUNT BE > $499?"

Once you verify the Manual BEG is needed and correct, press F4 to pass the soft edit.

 

Clarifying Information - WAC 388-437-0010

Note: Pandemic EBT ended as of September 30, 2020.

P-EBT Eligibility

Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) Benefits are benefits for households with school age children participating in a Free or Reduced Lunch Program in lieu of meals they would eat at school if not for closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. P-EBT benefits cover school closures effective March 13, 2020 to the end of the academic school year (June 19, 2020). The reimbursement rate is $5.70 per school day (Monday – Friday) per eligible child in the household.

  • Receipt of food assistance is not a requirement for P-EBT eligibility.
  • Applicants for P-EBT are not required to:
    • Participate in an interview
    • Provide a telephonic signature
    • Complete an Interactive Interview Declaration
    • Meet citizenship requirements
  • A school age child is defined as:
    • A child up to 17 years old; or
    • A child 18 to 21 attending high school.
  • P-EBT applications will not be accepted after September 11, 2020 at 5:00 pm.
Note: When processing an application for food assistance, make the household aware of the P-EBT program and use the OSPI Search tool to determine eligibility for P-EBT benefits.

P-EBT Benefits for AUs Receiving Basic Food

  • Active assistance units (AUs) eligible for P-EBT include households:
    • Receiving Basic Food, including SNAP, FAP, or TFA with a paid through date of 6/30/2020.
    • Eligible for the minimum $0 allotment.
    • With a school age child as defined above coded in ACES.
  • P-EBT benefits were issued to the current EBT card of the active Basic Food AU.
  • The P-EBT amount is determined by the date the AU became eligible for Basic Food.
  • Active Basic Food AUs in March and ongoing received a mass issuance for March, April, May and June 2020.
  • Active Basic Food AUs that became eligible for Basic Food after March will receive an issuance for the remaining months.
    • If a child became eligible in:
      • April 2020, the child is eligible for April, May and June.
      • May 2020, the child is eligible for May and June.
      • June 2020, the child is eligible for June only.
  • Barcode generated a tickle for any AU eligible for Basic Food starting April. See Worker Responsibilities below.
Example: Robert is receiving food assistance with his 1st grader Donna (6). The household is certified for Basic Food January 1st to December 30th. As he and Donna are active on food from March to June, the P-EBT benefits issued are for March – June 2020.
Example: Donna lost her job due to COVID-19 layoffs and applied for Basic Food for herself and 3 children in May. The household  is eligible for Basic Food benefits. A Barcode tickle is created for staff to review P-EBT eligibility for her 3 school age children in March and April. Staff review the OSPI P-EBT Search site to verify the children's eligibility for free or reduce-priced meals in the months of March and April. The children are not found on the search site in the months of March and April. The P-EBT benefits issued are for the months of May and June.

P-EBT Mass Issuance Availability Dates

FS AU Ends In

P-EBT Benefit Available

Availability Date

1

1 day after mass issuance

June 28

2

2 days after mass issuance

June 29

3

3 days after mass issuance

June 30

4

4 days after mass issuance

July 1

5

5 days after mass issuance

July 2

6

6 days after mass issuance

July 3

7

7 days after mass issuance

July 4

8

8 days after mass issuance

July 5

9

9 days after mass issuance

July 6

0

10 days after mass issuance

July 7

 

P-EBT Benefits for Households Not Receiving Basic Food

  • Households not receiving Basic Food but have a school age child eligible for free or reduced price school lunch program will need to contact the department to apply for P-EBT benefits.
  • A household can apply for P-EBT benefits by:
    • Completing an online application through the Washington Connections ; or
    • Calling the Customer Service Contact Centers and requesting P-EBT benefits.
  • Applying for Basic Food is not required to qualify for P-EBT.
    • If the household is interested in pursuing regular Basic Food in addition to P-EBT, process the Basic Food application in addition to the P-EBT.
    • Do not delay the P-EBT determination when pending Basic Food for verification.
  • Staff will use the OSPI P-EBT Search site to verify P-EBT eligibility after an application is received.  

P-EBT Benefit Amounts:

  • The daily amount is $5.70 per eligible child.
  • The total for all four months (March to June 2020) is $399 per eligible child.

     

Month

Days of School

Dollars per child

March 2020

12

$68.40

April 2020

22

$125.40

May 2020

21

$119.70

June 2020

15

$85.50

 

Example: Tim and his three children, Betsy (15), Stan (15) and Nancy (19) applied for and started receiving Basic Food in April 2020. Tim and Nancy are not in school. ACES issues P-EBT of $661.20 for Betsy and Stan. Barcode will generate a tickle. Staff will determine if the children qualify for P-EBT benefits for March by using the OSPI P-EBT Search site to verify eligibility for free or reduced meals at school.

 

Worker Responsibilities – WAC 388-437-0010

Note: Pandemic EBT ended on September 30, 2020.

Confirming automatic mass issuance:

  • On the evening of June 27, 2020, ACES performed the one time issuance to active (or closed with a paid thru date of 6/30/20) Basic Food AUs containing at least one P-EBT eligible child.
  • Staff can confirm the automatic issuances by reviewing Benefit Issuance history in Aces.Online. The issuances for each month will display as FS/EBT – Pandemic EBT Supplement (862).
  • Existing households who started receiving Basic Food after March will get a partial issuance. A Barcode tickle will generate for staff to screen a second Basic Food AU for P-EBT approval or denial for the missing months. Process Barcode ticklers using the procedures explained in CSD Procedures Handbook.

Manual BEG:

Starting June 29, 2020, staff may need to use a new BEG type School Supplement - SS to issue P-EBT benefits manually for newly approved Basic Food households in the following two situations:

  1. If the child is not found on the OSPI Search Site, then create a manual SS BEG based on Basic Food begin date using the newly approved Basic Food AU.

    Example: Tomas submitted an application for Basic Food on June 15th for himself and his 9 year old son, Angel. Tomas in interviewed on July 1st and approved on Basic Food from June 15th to May 31st. Angel is not found on the OSPI search site as a recipient of free/reduced lunch.

    The worker will create a manual SS BEG for the month of June to provide the household the P-EBT benefit.

  2. If the child is found on the OSPI Search Site:
    1. Create manual SS BEG based on Basic Food begin date using the newly approved Basic Food AU AND
    2. Staff will need to screen in a second FS AU for P-EBT only prior to Basic Food approval (DO NOT ISSUE A BEG)
Example: Juanita and her 11 year old twins complete a telephonic interview on June 30th for Basic Food. The household is approved for Basic Food from June 30th to May 31st. The twins are found as recipient of free/reduced lunch back to September 2019 using the OSPI search site.

The worker will create a manual SS BEG for the month of June using the newly approved Basic Food AU AND create a separate FS AU for P-EBT only approval for March, April, and May, which will process in overnight batch.

NOTE: If an application is being reconsidered, carefully review the Basic Food begin date. If the application goes back to the month of May, an SS BEG should be reviewed for May and June.

Letters:

Letters will not generate when the BEG School Supplement – SS is released.

  • We do not require an approval letter for P-EBT benefits.
  • Staff will create a General Correspondence letter when a P-EBT request is denied and add the appropriate canned text. The canned text is specific to the reason for the denial. The two reasons to deny P-EBT applications are:
    • The student's information is not on the OSPI P-EBT Search site; and
    • P-EBT benefits previously issued to the household.

EBT Card:

Staff will review Barcode EBT transactions to verify the household has an EBT card and they have used it within the past 60 days.

  • Staff will not manually issue an EBT card if transactions occurred on an EBT account within the past 60 days unless the household states they no longer have the EBT card.
  • Follow COVID-19 Temporary Procedures to issue EBT cards for those households that:
    • Do not have an EBT card,
    • Have not used one the past 60 days, or
    • Are requesting a new EBT card.

Clarifying Information WAC 388-437-0020

Children under the age of 5 may be eligible for P-EBT benefits if they attended a early learning facility operating as part of a public school district that participates in the National School Lunch Program. These eligible children are included in the OSPI Search Site.

Application deadline:

Staff will determine eligibility for P-EBT applications:

  • submitted online or by mail by 5:00 pm on September 11, 2020.
  • submitted telephonically by 3:00 pm on September 16, 2020.

 

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