DSHS receives supplemental funding to boost benefits for Basic Food recipients

Release Date: 
Apr 02 2020
DSHS Office of Communications
Norah West
(360) 902-7833

OLYMPIA – As of the week of March 30, some Washington residents who receive Basic Food benefits will have additional funds available for March and April 2020. Congress approved extra benefits up to the maximum allowed for each household. In Washington state, this means DSHS is giving additional benefits to approximately 277,000 households. 

“Having the ability to purchase more healthy food is critically important during these unprecedented times,” explained Babs Roberts, director of DSHS’ Community Services Division. “We’re glad the U.S. Congress extended these emergency benefits to Washington residents. This can help people to reduce the number of times they need to go shopping for groceries and also limit the number of people in stores, helping keep us all safe and healthy at home.”

Recipients will get the difference between their regular monthly benefit and the maximum amount for their household size. For example, a two-person household that typically gets $200 per month in food benefits will receive an additional $155 in emergency benefits for March and April, bringing the monthly total to $355. Some households already receive the maximum benefit amount and so will not see an increase.

People who are just now applying for benefits in March and April will receive the maximum household benefit amount once their application is approved. The average additional benefit amount is $155; some will get more and some will get less. The benefits do not have to be paid back and do not affect any recipients’ immigration status. If Congress extends these additional benefits in future months, DSHS will issue extra benefits for those months.

The emergency benefits for March will show up on EBT cards on April 4.  Households who already received their regular April benefits on April 1-3 will receive the April supplement on April 4, and those who receive their normal benefits on April 4-20 will receive the additional amount on the usual date they receive benefits. 

The agency will not send formal letters notifying Basic Food recipients of the additional benefits. Recipients can call the number on their EBT card to check the balance or access their client benefit account at www.washingtonconnection.org

Due to much higher than normal call volumes, people are asked not to call the Customer Service Contact Center about the additional benefits; instead, they should check for the latest COVID-19 benefits-related information on the agency Facebook and Twitter accounts or at dshs.wa.gov

# # #