More than 30,000 King County students who are eligible for a one-time, $399 food benefit have until Sept. 11 to apply for Pandemic EBT, an emergency federal program that provides families cash assistance to buy food while schools are closed due to COVID-19.
Pandemic EBT is available to all children in public schools in Washington who receive free or reduced-price school meals. Across the state, over 150,000 eligible students can still apply.
Many low-income families rely on the free and reduced-price meals students get at school. With school closures, those families are struggling to feed their children. Pandemic EBT aims to fill that gap and ease the food insecurity many in our community are experiencing.
“The economic impacts of COVID-19 are placing financial stress on families and increasing food insecurity across the country,” said Lauren McGowan, senior director for ending homelessness and poverty at United Way of King County. “Pandemic EBT provides some relief and allows families to purchase foods that meet their cultural and dietary needs. We can’t afford to let these dollars go unused.”
Pandemic EBT is not subject to public charge and does not affect or require proof of immigration status.
Families can apply online on the Washington Connection website. People who need help with the application process can call 2-1-1 and ask for assistance.
Applicants should ensure their children’s names match the spelling they used when they registered them for school. While the application includes a field for a Social Security number, it is not required.