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Washington residents on food assistance will get extra money during coronavirus crisis

Congress approved these benefits, which will help about 277,000 households in Washington state.

SEATTLE — People who receive food assistance benefits through the state may have some extra money in their accounts to help during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. 

Congress approved these benefits, which will help about 277,000 households in Washington state, but the state didn't send out a notification to recipients about the extra money. So, people may already have the money in their accounts and not know it. 

The extra money will help people reduce the number of times they need to go grocery shopping and also limit the number of people in stores, according to the Department of Social and Health Services.

It’s more individualized when it comes to determining how much more each household will receive. 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 they will not see an increase.

These benefits do not have to be paid back, and if Congress extends these additional benefits in future months, DSHS will issue extra benefits for those months.

Recipients can call the number on their EBT cards to check their balance or go to their account online at Washington Connection.

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