Information about Pandemic EBT, or P-EBT
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.
P-EBT 1.0 Outcomes Report
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. Recently, 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.”
Children eligible for P-EBT extension benefits:
- Previously received P-EBT benefits for the 2019-20 school year;
- Are attending a California K-12 school for the 2020-21 school year; and
- Are assumed to be attending school virtually or via a hybrid model of virtual and in-person instruction for the 2020-21 school year.
Under the P-EBT extension, each eligible child will receive a new P-EBT card with P-EBT benefits for the months of August and September 2020. These new P-EBT cards will be mailed directly to families in late October through late December. Eligible families do not need to apply to receive P-EBT extension benefits.
IMPORTANT: Children who are newly eligible for free or reduced-price school meals for the 2020-21 school year are not eligible for P-EBT extension benefits and will be served under the second P-EBT program described below.
P-EBT Extension Frequently Asked Questions
Recently, the federal government granted states authority, pending federal plan approval, to provide P-EBT benefits for the entire 2020-2021 school year. To provide P-EBT benefits for the 2020-21 school year, states must develop and submit a P-EBT plan for federal approval. The CDSS and CDE are working in partnership to submit a plan as soon as possible. Updates regarding P-EBT 2.0, including information about how the program will be implemented and when, will be shared here as soon as they are available.
Some children who were eligible for P-EBT extension benefits have not yet received their P-EBT card due to a delay in receiving the children’s qualifying information before the federal deadline. Based on recent federal guidance, California will be able to issue P-EBT benefits to these children, as well as newly eligible students for the entire school year.
P-EBT Cardholder Support
Families that have already received a P-EBT card and need assistance with PINset up, need to request a replacement card, or did not receive their card in the mail as expected, may contact the P-EBT Helpline at (877) 328-9677 office for help.
The P-EBT Helpline can only help families that expected to receive a card in the mail or already received a P-EBT card. The P-EBT Helpline cannot assistwith P-EBT eligibility issues or issue P-EBT benefits. Thank you.