Pandemic EBT, or P-EBT, is a federal food program. The California Department of Social Services (CDSS), in partnership with the California Department of Education (CDE), received approval to operate the program in response to COVID-19 related school and child care closures. The California P-EBT Team is currently operating P-EBT 3.0, the fourth round of the program. P-EBT 4.0, the final round of P-EBT, will provide benefits to school-aged children and young children under six for school year 2022-23. P-EBT 4.0 is currently being developed and updates will be available shortly. All P-EBT benefits must be delivered by September 30, 2023 following the expiration of the federal Public Health Emergency. For additional information, visit the P-EBT website at https://ca.p-ebt.org/. If you’re interested in getting food benefits after P-EBT ends, you can apply for CalFresh Food benefits at GetCalfresh.org.
P-EBT 3.0 Eligibility
Young children are eligible for P-EBT 3.0 if they were:
- Under 6 years old as of August 1, 2021; and
- Part of a household getting CalFresh benefits between August 2021 and August 2022.
School-aged children are eligible for P-EBT 3.0 if they were:
- Enrolled at a school for school year 2021–22 that participated in the federal School Breakfast Program or National School Lunch Program; and
- Eligible to get free or reduced-price meals for school year 2021–22; and
- Attended school via Independent Study (California's version of virtual learning) or had at least five excused absences in a month
Summer P-EBT benefits are also available to all eligible children! Young children under age six will get Summer P-EBT if they were part of a household receiving CalFresh benefits anytime between June and August 2022. School-aged children will get Summer P-EBT benefits if they were eligible for free or reduced-price meals through the federal School Breakfast or National School Lunch Program for School Year 2021-22. There is no requirement for school-aged children to be attending school via Independent Study to receive Summer P-EBT benefits. All children eligible for Summer P-EBT will get a standard benefit amount of $391.
P-EBT 3.0 Card Mailing
P-EBT 3.0 cards for eligible young children who got CalFresh between August and December 2021 were mailed in October 2022. Cards for young children under age six eligible for benefits from January to August 2022 were reloaded on existing P-EBT 3.0 cards or mailed to newly eligible recipients on November 2022.
P-EBT 3.0 cards for school-aged children eligible for benefit months August through December 2021 were mailed in December 2022. Cards for school-aged children eligible for benefits from January to August 2022 were reloaded on existing P-EBT 3.0 cards or mailed to newly eligible recipients between December 2022 and January 2023. P-EBT 3.0 cards were mailed in alphabetical order based on the first name of the eligible child. There is NO P-EBT 3.0 application.
Families who feel they do not need P-EBT benefits can choose to not accept P-EBT benefits by destroying their card before using it. Each eligible child will receive their own P-EBT 3.0 card.
As a reminder, P-EBT 3.0 does not:
- Require sign-up or an application;
- Affect other benefits you may be receiving;
- Impact immigration or make the recipient a public charge;
For more information, please visit the P-EBT website at https://ca.p-ebt.org/.
Families that have already received a P-EBT card and need assistance with PIN set-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 (M-F, 6am to 8pm) for help.
Families that have not received a P-EBT card but have questions about their P-EBT eligibility can also contact the P-EBT Helpline at (877) 328-9677 (M-F, 6am to 8pm). Some families may be eligible for P-EBT 3.0 benefits if their school-aged child had COVID-related excused absences during school year 2021-22 and did not get a P-EBT 3.0 card.
P-EBT 1.0 benefits were provided to children who were eligible for free or reduced-price meals during the 2019-2020 school year at a school participating in the federal School Breakfast or National School Lunch Program. P-EBT 1.0 provided $1.58 billion in food benefits to 3.5 million children statewide. The P-EBT 1.0 Outcomes Report can be found here.
California was also authorized to provide additional P-EBT food benefits for the months of August and September 2020. This is referred to as the “P-EBT Extension”. Under the P-EBT extension, each eligible child received a new P-EBT card with P-EBT benefits for the months of August and September 2020. Eligible families did not need to apply to receive P-EBT extension benefits. P-EBT Extension provided $627 million in food benefits to 3.3 million children statewide.
P-EBT 2.0 authorized food benefits for the months of October 2020 through August 2021. P-EBT 2.0 also expanded eligibility to young children under age six who got CalFresh benefits during that time. P-EBT 2.0 provided Summer P-EBT benefits for the first time, which included a standard benefit of $375 for benefit months June through August 2021. P-EBT 2.0 provided $6.1 billion in food benefits to 5 million children statewide. The P-EBT 2.0 Outcomes Report can be found here.