Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) Program

Created on: 
Mar 26 2021

Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) Program

Created on: Mar 26 2021

Revised: 08/05/2022

Purpose: This section reviews the Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) Program, which provides food benefits to children affected by school closures or reduced in-person learning due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

WAC 388-439-0005 – What is the pandemic EBT program?

WAC 388-439-0015 - General information about pandemic EBT benefits.

WAC 388-439-0020 - Eligibility for pandemic EBT benefits for children under age six.

WAC 388-439-0025 - Eligibility for pandemic EBT benefits during the 2022 summer period.


​Clarifying Information - WAC 388-439-0005

DSHS has received approval for Children under Six and Summer P-EBT.

We have not received approval from USDA to provide school age P-EBT benefits for the recent 2021-2022 school year at this time.


Applications:

  • There is no application for P-EBT. Eligibility is determined by our third party contractor using data submitted by DSHS and local school districts through the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).

Clarifying Information - WAC 388-439-0015

Using the P-EBT card:

  • P-EBT cards work the same as a regular EBT card to purchase food items. Eligible P-EBT students and children under six will receive a card with their name on it.
  • Each student or child (including homeless youth) can use the P-EBT card or have a responsible household member use the benefits on their behalf.
  • Benefits are redeemable nationwide.
  • After 274 days of non-use, any unused benefits on a P-EBT card will be expunged, and cannot be replaced once they are removed.

P-EBT card:

  • P-EBT Cards are mailed to the most recently reported address on file with the school for Summer 2022 P-EBT benefits, and most recently reported address on file in ACES for Children under Six benefits. If a household’s address changes, they may call the P-EBT contact center to change their address.
  • P-EBT cards and notices may be sent to the school for pick up.
  • There are no custody requirements for P-EBT, as long as a responsible adult uses the benefit on behalf of the child.
  • EBT cards are to be used on behalf of the eligible child. P-EBT benefits can’t be transferred, trafficked, or exchanged for non-food items as listed in WAC 388-412-0046 (2)(d). This includes donating food items to a food bank or charity.

Clarifying Information - WAC 388-439-0020

For more information on P-EBT Children under Six benefits, please review the following Q&A.

1. Who do customers call for P-EBT Questions?

P-EBT Contact Center staff can answer questions regarding P-EBT eligibility based on the information provided by DSHS, benefit levels, and for P-EBT card inquires. The P-EBT Contact Center has no access to cash, food, or medical program eligibility information. Refer P-EBT questions to 833-518-0282, or TTY 1-800-833-6348, Monday through Friday between 8:00 and 5:00.

Please refer to the P-EBT Contact Guide for a complete list of P-EBT related contact information.

2. Which children under six are eligible for P-EBT?

 Any child meeting the following criteria will be reviewed for P-EBT automatically:

  • Under the age of six,
  • A member of a household that received Basic Food for any month between September 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022 may receive P-EBT for that month.

3. Do $0 households qualify for P-EBT?

No. FNS clarification states that $0 households are not participating in the Basic Food program; therefore do not qualify for P-EBT. Encourage the customer to reapply for Basic Food if they believe their circumstances have changed.

4. If a client shouldn’t have received P-EBT, will they have to pay these benefits back?

P-EBT benefits are issued directly to each eligible child and we don’t establish overpayments for minors. Households determined completely ineligible for P-EBT may receive an expungement notice advising them that any remaining benefits will be removed from the P-EBT card. Families who disagree with this decision and / or expungement should call the P-EBT Contact Center to request a case review or administrative hearing. (See question 12.)

5. When will benefits issued?

P-EBT benefits will be issued as a one-time, lump sum for each of the retroactive months the child was a member of a household that received Basic Food between September 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022. Eligible children will be issued benefits and approval notices beginning in August 2022. Newly eligible children will be sent P-EBT cards, and families who were eligible for P-EBT in the previous year will have their benefits automatically loaded.

6. How do customers use their P-EBT card?

Families with active food cases should ensure DSHS has their current address on file prior to August 2022 issuance. If a caller’s address has changed, they will need to contact the P-EBT Contact Center at 833-518-0282, or TTY 1-800-833-6348, Monday through Friday between 8:00 and 5:00 after we begin issuing benefits to update their address to ensure they get notices and the P-EBT card. 

7. Who do customers use their P-EBT card?

Households will receive a unique white P-EBT card for each eligible child that works just like a regular EBT card and should be used in addition to their regular cash or food EBT card, if they have one. P-EBT cards can be used to buy most foods items, except prepared foods and foods sold hot. Families can learn more about EBT eligible foods by visiting - What can SNAP Buy.

8. Who do customers call to set up their P-EBT PIN?

Once P-EBT cards are mailed out, families may call the EBT vendor, FIS, at 888-328-9271 to set up their PIN. When using the automated system to set up their PIN, they will input the information based on the child’s name that is printed on the P-EBT card. (Example: the card comes in the child’s name – use the child’s DOB and Zip Code). 

We have been informed that some names have been inverted or there are typos in the date of birth and name provided from the child’s school. This can present an issue when attempting to PIN the P-EBT card. If a parent contacts you with any of these issues, refer them to the P-EBT Contact Center to correct their information.  

9. What if customers need a replacement P-EBT card because they lost or damaged it?

 Call the P-EBT contact center at 833-518-0282 to request a white P-EBT card replacement. 

  • Note: Replacement cards will be sent to the last known address on file with DSHS at the time your replacement is requested. Cards may take 7-10 business days to arrive once they are sent.

10. What if a customer has moved and needs a replacement sent to a new address:

Families can make address updates and request replacement P-EBT cards directly through the P-EBT Contact Center 833-518-0282, or TTY 1-800-833-6348, Monday through Friday between 8:00 and 5:00.

11. Where can customers find out more information?

Staff or customers can visit www.dshs.wa.gov/pebt.

Clients may also sign up to receive personalized SMS text messages by visiting  https://www.textpebt.dshs.wa.gov/ to sign up.

12. If the client doesn’t agree with a decision on P-EBT, what do I do?

We have developed an escalation process with Accenture through the P-EBT Contact Center to attempt to resolve issues. Please have the individual contact the P-EBT Contact Center and ask to have their P-EBT case reviewed. Most issues are resolved with a case review. If the P-EBT Contact Center is unable to resolve, the customer can request a hearing through the P-EBT call center agent. Do not set a SUPCOM. All escalations must go through the P-EBT Contact Center.

NOTE: Households with a $0 food benefit aren’t considered participating in SNAP/FAP and don’t qualify for P-EBT.


Clarifying Information - WAC 388-439-0025

For information on Summer 2022 P-EBT, please review the following Q&A.

1. Who do customers call for P-EBT Questions?

P-EBT Contact Center staff can answer questions regarding P-EBT eligibility based on the information provided by schools to determine eligibility, benefit levels, and for P-EBT card inquires. The P-EBT Contact Center has no access to cash, food, or medical program eligibility information. Callers with P-EBT questions can be referred to 833-518-0282, or TTY 1-800-833-6348, Monday through Friday between 8:00 and 5:00.

Please refer to the P-EBT Contact Guide .

2. Who is eligible for Summer P-EBT benefits and what will they receive?

  • Summer P-EBT for School Aged Children 
    Students who were registered and enrolled in June 2022 in a Washington school that normally participates in the National School Lunch Program/School Breakfast Program and are eligible for free or reduced-priced meals will receive a one-time, lump-sum Summer P-EBT benefit of $391 ($7.10 daily meal reimbursement rate x 55 summer days). This includes students who graduated in June 2022.
  • Summer P-EBT for Children under 6 
    Children under age 6 who are part of a household active on Basic Food anytime in July or August 2022 will receive a one-time, lump-sum Summer P-EBT benefit of $391.
  • Families who aren’t active on Basic Food assistance are encouraged to apply for food assistance by completing an application online at Washington Connection or calling the Customer Service Contact Center at 877-501-2233. Households newly approved for Basic Food will be automatically reviewed for P-EBT eligibility in September 2022.

3. When will benefits be issued?

For Summer P-EBT benefits, families of both school aged children and children under six, will be sent a notice and benefits will automatically deposit onto their P-EBT cards in August 2022.

Newly eligible children will be sent P-EBT cards, and families who were eligible for P-EBT in the previous year will have their benefits automatically loaded.

4. Will receiving P-EBT affect immigration status or make customers a public charge?

No. The Public Charge rule does not apply to P-EBT benefits and P-EBT benefits will not impact immigration status.

5. Why can’t I see the approval letters for P-EBT?

Our contractor, Accenture, works in a separate system that houses the eligibility and notices for P-EBT. P-EBT eligibility will not be found in Barcode or ACES.

6. How do customers find out if their child is eligible for P-EBT benefits?

Our contractor, Accenture, will send eligibility notices to the last known address on file for P-EBT eligible children. 

7. How do customers use their P-EBT card?

Households will receive a unique white P-EBT card that works just like a regular EBT card and should be used in addition to their regular cash or food EBT card, if they have one. P-EBT cards can be used to buy most foods items, except prepared foods and foods sold hot. Families can learn more about EBT eligible foods by visiting - What can SNAP Buy.

8. Who do customers call to set up their P-EBT PIN?

Once P-EBT cards are mailed out, families may call the number on the back of the P-EBT card to set up their PIN. When using the automated system to set up their PIN, they will input the information based on the child’s name that is printed on the P-EBT card. (Example: the card comes in the child’s name – use the child’s DOB and Zip Code).

We have been informed that some names have been inverted or there are typos in the date of birth and name provided from the child’s school. This can present an issue when attempting to PIN the P-EBT card. If a parent contacts you with any of these issues, refer them to the P-EBT Contact Center to correct their information.  

9. What if customers need a replacement P-EBT card because they lost or damaged it?

These cards can’t be replaced by DSHS staff or in the local offices. Call the P-EBT contact center at 833-518-0282 to request a white P-EBT card replacement. 

  • Note: Replacement cards will be sent to the last known address on file with DSHS at the time your replacement is requested. Cards may take 7-10 business days to arrive once they are sent.

10. What if a customer has moved and needs a replacement card sent to a new address: 

Families can make address updates and request replacement P-EBT cards directly through the P-EBT Contact Center at 833-518-0282, or TTY 1-800-833-6348, Monday through Friday between 8:00 and 5:00.

11. Where can customers find out more information?

Staff or customers can visit www.dshs.wa.gov/pebt which was updated July 14th, 2022.

Clients may also sign up to receive personalized SMS text messages, by visiting  https://www.textpebt.dshs.wa.gov/ to sign up.

12. If the customer doesn’t agree with a decision on P-EBT, what do I do?

We have developed an escalation process with Accenture through the P-EBT Contact Center to attempt to resolve issues. Please have the individual contact the P-EBT Contact Center and ask to have their P-EBT case reviewed. Most issues are resolved with a case review. If the P-EBT Contact Center is unable to resolve, the customer can request a hearing through the call center agent. Do not set a SUPCOM. All escalations must go through the P-EBT Contact Center.