Update about Pandemic EBT, or P-EBT Benefits as of December 22, 2020:
P-EBT is a federal program. The California Department of Social Services (CDSS), in collaboration with the California Department of Education (CDE), received approval to operate the program in response to COVID-19 related school closures. P-EBT provides food benefits to help families with children who are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals through the federal School Breakfast or National School Lunch Programs.
Children eligible for P-EBT extension benefits in California:
- Previously received P-EBT benefits for the 2019-20 school year.
- Currently attending a California K-12 school for the 2020-21 school year, either virtually or via a hybrid model of virtual and in-person instruction.
Recently, states have been granted authority, pending federal approval, to provide eligible children P-EBT food benefits for the entire 2020-21 school year. To provide P-EBT benefits for the 2020-21 school year, states must develop and submit a new P-EBT plan for federal approval. The CDSS and CDE are awaiting federal guidance and will be working collaboratively to develop and submit an approvable plan as soon as possible. More information will be shared here as soon as it’s available. This 2.0 version will provide benefits to new families (not just an extension of benefits to previously eligible families) BUT California has not yet completed the approval process.
P-EBT Cardholder Support
First thing, if you have questions about continuing your existing P-EBT benefits, call the P-EBT Helpline at (877) 328-9677. IF you have the P-EBT card and need assistance with PIN set up; need to request a replacement card; or did not receive a card in the mail as expected, call for for help.
The P-EBT Helpline cannot assist with P-EBT eligibility issues or issue P-EBT benefits. The P-EBT Helpline can only help families that expected to receive a card in the mail or already received a P-EBT card. Thank you.
Background on Pandemic EBT in California
P-EBT Extension: Over the summer of 2020, P-EBT provided food benefits to eligible school aged children for the months of March, April, May, and June 2020. In late October, California was approved to provide additional P-EBT benefits to children who already received P-EBT benefits for the months of August and September 2020. This is referred to as the “P-EBT Extension.” These new P-EBT cards should have been mailed directly to families in late October through late December. Eligible families do not need to apply to receive P-EBT extension benefits.
The application deadline was July 15, 2020. View website to get started >>
Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) is a supplemental benefit for households with children who have temporarily lost access to free or reduced-price school meals due to pandemic-related school closures. P-EBT benefits will be issued as a one time payment during the month of June (or a little later based on sliding deadlines and high volumes of requests). You should expect one card per student and these cards can be used to purchase groceries.
Who is eligible for P-EBT benefits
In California, children who eligible for the free and reduced-price school meals should find these benefits arriving by mail. If your student is receiving CalFresh, Medi-Cal or Foster Care benefits, you/they should have received these benefits already. If not, do follow up on the cdss.ca.gov website >>
This is a nationwide program. Throughout California, if your child already receives free or reduced lunch, you should be eligible.
When will your card arrive?
By July 15 according to the California DCF website. Some parents have reported receiving them already, some have received them on different days for students in the same household. These envelopes may be addressed to the parent or the child.
What else do you need to do to receive a card
No further action is required on your part to receive your P-EBT benefits. Check out this P-EBT FAQ if you have further questions.