Pandemic EBT, or P-EBT, was a federal food program response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through P-EBT, eligible school children received temporary emergency nutrition benefits loaded on EBT cards that were used to purchase food. The California Department of Social Services (CDSS), in partnership with the California Department of Education (CDE), received approval to operate the program during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.
California issued the final iteration of P-EBT, P-EBT 4.0, in Fall of 2023 following the expiration of the federal Public Health Emergency for COVID-19 on May 11, 2023. Although P-EBT benefits are no longer being issued, recipients can still spend the benefits on their P-EBT cards (1.0, 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0) until they are completely used up. As of January 1, 2024, recipients who have had P-EBT benefits removed from their cards due to them being stolen or inactivity* are no longer eligible for replacement benefits. Program history and outcomes reports will be updated below.
If you’re interested in getting food benefits after P-EBT, you can apply for CalFresh Food benefits at www.GetCalFresh.org.
*Please note that P-EBT benefits are automatically removed if benefits are not used within 365 days of issuance or date of last use.
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.
P-EBT 3.0 authorized food benefits for the 2021-2022 school year, August 2021 through May 2022. P-EBT 3.0 provided $45 per month in food benefits to children under age six who got CalFresh benefits during the 2021-2022 school year. For school-age children, P-EBT 3.0 provided eligible students $60 per month in food benefits. P-EBT 3.0 also authorized a standard benefit amount of $391 per eligible child as summer benefits for June 2022 – August 2022.
P-EBT 4.0 was the final iteration of P-EBT following the expiration of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) declaration. P-EBT 4.0 authorized food benefits for the 2022-2023 school year, August 2022 through May 11, 2023, the end of the PHE. Eligible children under age six received $36 per month for each month they got CalFresh food benefits during the 2022-2023 school year. School-aged eligibility differed with P-EBT 4.0 compared to previous iterations, expanding to students who attended schools that did not participate in the National School Lunch or School Breakfast Programs (NSLP/SBP), such as private, nonpublic, and private virtual schools. Parents of students attending NSLP/SBP non-participating schools were required to apply through an online application. Eligible students, both attending NSLP/SBP participating schools and non-participating schools, received $8.18 for each day they didn’t attend school in person because of COVID-19 during the 2022-2023 school year. School-aged children were also eligible for summer P-EBT benefits if they were eligible for free or reduced-price meals during the 2022-2023 school year and attended a NSLP/SBP or provision 2/CEP school. Eligible school-aged children received $120 for summer 2023 P-EBT benefits.