SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES
(Economic Services Administration)
[Filed September 16, 2020, 3:12 p.m., effective September 16, 2020, 3:12 p.m.]
Effective Date of Rule: Immediately upon filing.
Purpose: The department is amending emergency WAC 388-437-0020 Availability of pandemic EBT benefits, to clarify the deadline for receipt of all Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) applications.
H.R. 6201 (116th Congress) Families First Coronavirus Response Act signed into law on March 18, 2020, allows for households with school age children participating in Free or Reduced-Price Lunch program to receive benefits after the school closes for five consecutive days due to the COVID-19 public health emergency declaration. P-EBT payments to eligible families end September 30, 2020, with the exception of case-by-case review and approval by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). The department will not accept applications for P-EBT past 5:00 p.m. on September 11, 2020, for online and paper applications, and 3:00 p.m. on September 16, 2020, for telephonic applications to allow benefit authorization to all eligible applicants by the end date of September 30, 2020.
This second emergency adoption amends the emergency rule adopted under WSR 20-19-059.
Citation of Rules Affected by this Order: New WAC 388-437-0020.
Other Authority: H.R. 6201.
Under RCW 34.05.350
the agency for good cause finds that state or federal law or federal rule or a federal deadline for state receipt of federal funds requires immediate adoption of a rule.
Reasons for this Finding: The USDA approved Washington's state plan to provide emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to households with children who would otherwise receive free or reduced-price school meals if not for school closures due to COVID-19. In the time since the existing emergency P-EBT program rule was adopted under WSR 20-14-030, the USDA has approved an amendment to the original plan allowing children under five years old, as of October 1, 2019, to receive P-EBT if eligible to receive free and reduced-price lunches. The USDA FNS has also since provided an end date for benefits to be authorized and advised states to set a deadline for P-EBT applications that allots sufficient time to process applications and make the disbursements by that date. Due to the disasters facing our state, including the wildfires and intermittent power outages, we have experienced a larger than normal forced disconnect rate on our call center and have received feedback [that] this has adversely impacted customers' ability to meet the September 11, 2020, application deadline for the P-EBT program.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 1, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted at the Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's own Initiative: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 1, Repealed 0.
Date Adopted: September 16, 2020.
Katherine I. Vasquez
WAC 388-437-0020Availability of pandemic EBT benefits.
(1) Pandemic EBT benefits are available to households that include:
(a) School age children whose schools closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic as described in WAC 388-437-0010 filed under WSR 20-14-030; and
(b) Children regardless of age who:
(i) Would normally receive free or reduced price meals under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act if not for school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
(ii) Attend a school of early learning that followed school district closure dates of March 16, 2020 through June 19, 2020.
(2) Pandemic EBT benefits as described in subsection (1) of this section and in WAC 388-437-0010 filed under WSR 20-14-030 must be received no later than September 30, 2020, except when reviewed and approved on a case-by-case basis by the US department of agriculture's food and nutrition service. Online and paper applications for pandemic EBT will not be accepted after 5:00 p.m. on September 11, 2020. Telephonic applications for pandemic EBT will not be accepted after 3:00 p.m. on September 16, 2020.