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 Update
California recently received approval to issue P-EBT benefits to eligible school age children who did not receive P-EBT 1.0 benefits over the summer of 2020. This approval will allow California to issue P-EBT benefits to all children who were eligible for free or reduced-price meals last school year (2019-2020).
P-EBT 1.0 benefits are for children who were eligible for free or reduced-price meals during the 2019-2020 school year. California has not yet been approved to issue P-EBT 2.0 benefits for children who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals during the current 2020-21 school year.
Eligible children do not need to do anything to receive these P-EBT 1.0 benefits. An online application is not required. P-EBT 1.0 cards will be mailed to the most recent address on file with the school. These P-EBT 1.0 cards will begin mailing the week of April 19, 2021 and is scheduled to be complete by mid-May.
Children who already received P-EBT 1.0 benefits last year will not get any more P-EBT 1.0 benefits this year.
For more information or assistance, please see the P-EBT Cardholder Support section of this page.
As of May 1, 2021, California has not been approved to issue P-EBT 2.0 benefits. 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 currently working in partnership to collect the information necessary to submit an approvable plan. Updates regarding P-EBT 2.0, including information about how P-EBT 2.0 will be implemented and when, will be shared here as soon as they are available.
How to Prepare for P-EBT 2.0
To prepare for P-EBT 2.0, eligible families with school aged children should make sure that their school has their most current mailing address on file. There will be no P-EBT 2.0 application. When P-EBT 2.0 begins, cards will be mailed directly to eligible children based on the mailing address on file with their school.
Schools should encourage eligible families to update their mailing address as soon as possible and no later than March 12, 2021.
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.
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 soon be able to issue P-EBT benefits to these children, as well as newly eligible students for the entire school year.
P-EBT Extension Outreach materials
P-EBT Extension Frequently Asked Questions
P-EBT 1.0 Outcomes Report
P-EBT Cardholder Support
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 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 assist with P-EBT eligibility issues or issue P-EBT benefits. Thank you.