Pandemic EBT (P-EBT)


P-EBT Latest News

Sept. 15, 2021:

Update on 2021-2022 School Year P-EBT:

On Aug. 26, 2021, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service released information on P-EBT for the new 2021-2022 school year. In accordance to this federal guidance, states must submit plans and receive approval from FNS before delivering P-EBT benefits for the new 2021-22 school year. Currently, DSHS has not submitted a plan and we will post updates when they become available.

What is the P-EBT program?

Pandemic EBT, or P-EBT, is a program that provides food benefits to children who had limited onsite meals at their school or child care center due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The P-EBT benefits help Washington families affected by these closures to buy food during the 2020-21 school year.
In Washington state, DSHS received federal approval to provide students P-EBT benefits for the 2020-21 school year, in collaboration with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Additionally, we have received federal approval to provide P-EBT benefits to children under age 6 whose household receives Basic Food benefits.
For more information:

General P-EBT Information

P-EBT card imageEach child who qualifies for P-EBT benefits will receive an approval letter along with a designated P-EBT card. Watch the mail for a card that looks like this!

The P-EBT card is separate from and doesn’t replace a food or cash (Quest) EBT card.

How do families apply?

Great news: Families don’t have to apply for the P-EBT Program! If your child is determined eligible they may automatically qualify.

How are P-EBT benefits used?

P-EBT benefits can be used like a debit card to buy food in most grocery stores and farmers markets, or to buy food online at Amazon or Walmart. Families can also use their P-EBT to get double the amount of food at participating farmers markets. Learn more at DOH SNAP Market Match

Should I keep my child’s P-EBT card after funds are used?

Yes! Additional benefits may be issued to the card for as long as the COVID-19 public health emergency continues and we receive federal approval to extend the program.

Who do I call for information?

Families can reference to this P-EBT Cross Agency Guide when following up on questions regarding P-EBT eligibility or by calling the P-EBT Contact Center at 833-518-0282.

Do I need to claim P-EBT benefits on my taxes?

No. P-EBT benefits are not taxable under the Federal Income Tax rules.

Do I need to pay back these benefits?

No. Children who receive P-EBT benefits don’t need to repay them.

Are P-EBT benefits subject to public charge rules?

No. P-EBT benefits are not subject to Public Charge rules.

How long will benefits stay on my card?

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

Do you count my Emergency Supplement as a Basic Food benefit?

Some households who qualify for $0 food benefit amount received an Emergency Supplement between October 2020 to April 2021. Though this is a food benefit, it doesn’t qualify a $0 Basic Food household for P-EBT for children under age 6. Some of these households may have inadvertently been included in P-EBT eligibility as they were seen to have received a food benefit more than $0. Impacted households were sent letters that they are ineligible and are encouraged to call the P-EBT Contact Center if they have questions or concerns.

Children enrolled in school P-EBT

P-EBT will be provided to eligible children during the 2020-2021 school year. Children who may qualify for P-EBT would be students who normally have access to the National School Lunch Program, or NSLP, and School Breakfast Program, or SBP, and are registered/enrolled at a school in Washington state that:

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


Benefit amounts:

Schools report their available onsite meals each month, from September 2020 to June 2021. All students at the school are given the same amount of benefits based on the reported onsite meals for the majority of students for the majority of each month. Benefits vary from school to school for this reason. Benefit range from $25 to $123 per student per month.



We started issuing P-EBT benefits to students in late March 2021. The tentative issuance schedule onto P-EBT cards is:

Benefit Issuance

P-EBT Months of Eligibility

March 2021

September 2020 to January 2021

April 2021

February and March 2021

June 2021

April, May and June 2021

July 2021

Summer P-EBT Benefits ($375)


Summer Benefits:

Students who were registered and enrolled in June 2021 in a Washington school that normally participates in the National School Lunch Program / School Breakfast Program and eligible for free or reduced-priced meals will receive a one-time, lump-sum Summer P-EBT benefit of $375. Benefits will automatically go onto existing P-EBT cards in July 2021. This includes students who graduated in June 2021.

If your child does not already receive free or reduced-price meals, contact your local school district to fill out a school meal application. Families must submit Free and Reduced-Price Meal Applications by Aug. 31, 2021 to receive P-EBT benefits for the Summer P-EBT.


P-EBT FAQ for Children in School
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P-EBT Flier
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Summer P-EBT Flier
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Children under Age 6 P-EBT

Children may qualify for P-EBT if they are:

  • Under age 6.
  • Live in a household with an active Basic Food Assistance account between Oct. 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021.
  • Live in a county with a school that participates in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program that has limited on-site meal service. 

Children under age 6 do not need to participate in free or reduced-price school meals, enrolled in a school, or enrolled in a child care center to qualify for P-EBT.

We use the on-site meal service as reported by schools in each county to determine if we can assume that children under age 6 have limited access to breakfast, lunch and snack.


Benefit amounts:

Children are reviewed for P-EBT for each month they are active on Basic Food between October 2020 and June 2021.

Using the current county of residence in our system, we look for the lowest onsite meal service for one school in that county. We use that information to determine the amount of benefits. Benefits range from $36 to $123 per child per month.

A child cannot receive duplicate benefits if they already received P-EBT for children in school, such as children in Head Start or ECEAP programs. If a child would have gotten more P-EBT benefits as a child under age 6, we will provide them the greater benefit.

A household active for Basic Food, but eligible for $0 in benefits are not eligible for P-EBT for children under age 6. If $0 households receive these benefits, they will receive a subsequent notice explaining that they are not eligible. Families are welcome to contact the P-EBT contact center for assistance with a case review.



Eligible children will receive approval letters in late July 2021 and a P-EBT card shortly after. This card is to be used in addition to your normal Quest EBT card. Our tentative issuance schedule is:

Benefit Issuance

P-EBT Months of Eligibility

July 2021

October 2020 to March 2021

August 2021

April to June 2021 + Summer P-EBT Benefits ($375)


Summer Benefits:

Children under age 6 who are part of a household active on Basic Food anytime in June, July or August 2021 will receive a one-time, lump-sum Summer P-EBT benefit of $375. Benefits will automatically go onto existing P-EBT cards in August 2021.
Families who are not active on Basic Food assistance are encouraged to apply for food assistance by completing an application online at or calling the Customer Service Contact Center at 877-501-2233. Households approved for Basic Food will be automatically reviewed for P-EBT eligibility in September 2021.

P-EBT FAQ for Children under Age 6
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Summer P-EBT Flier
English | |  Spanish | Russian | Vietnamese | Chinese | Korean | Arabic | Khmer (Cambodian)  | Punjabi | Somali | Ukrainian | Amharic | Farsi | Tagalog | Tigrinya | Laotian


Other Resource Links:

What can SNAP Buy

News release about P-EBT

Schools and organizations providing meals to children during COVID-19

-EAZ Manual – Pandemic (P-EBT) Program.