Basic Food emergency benefits extended through June

By David Rasbach

The Bellingham Herald

Washington households receiving Basic Food benefits will continue to receive additional funds for June to help them through struggles during the coronavirus pandemic.

Those additional benefits are to be distributed today for people who ordinarily get their benefits on June 1 and on the usual day for those who get their benefits June 2-20, Washington State Department of Social and Health Services spokesperson Norah West said via email.

“We’ll continue to request additional federal food benefits up to the maximum allowable amount per household size each month that the pandemic continues,” West wrote in the email.

Statewide, the emergency supplements accounted for an additional $49.7 million in food benefits in March and $50.2 million in April, West reported. In March 288,950 of 490,969 Basic Food households received an emergency supplement of an average $172.12, and in April 292,647 of 509,269 households received an average additional supplement of $171.52.

Recipients receive the maximum benefit amount for their household size — $355 for a two-person household — a release that announced the emergency supplement in early April stated.

“Having the ability to purchase more healthy food is critically important during these unprecedented times,” Community Services Division Director Babs Roberts said in the release. “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.”

The benefits do not have to be paid back and do not affect any recipients’ immigration status, the release stated. If Congress extends these additional benefits in future months because of COVID-19, extra benefits for those months will be issued.

Recipients can call the number on their EBT card to check the balance or access their client benefit account at