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.
PEBT 4.0 Eligibility
P-EBT 4.0 is the fourth and final version of the P-EBT program following the expiration of the federal Public Health Emergency on May 11, 2023. P-EBT cards are expected to mail beginning August through September 2023.
Young Children Under Age 6
Young children under age 6 are eligible if they:
- Were under age 6 as of August 1, 2022, and
- Got CalFresh food benefits at least once from August 2022 through May 2023.
Young children will receive up to $36 per month for each month they received CalFresh food benefits during the 2022-23 school year.
Eligibility requirements for school-age children differ between each type of school the student attends.
NSLP/SBP Participating Schools
No application is required for students that attended a public school that participates in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or School Breakfast Program (SBP). The CDSS will automatically issue School Year (SY) 2022-23 P-EBT benefits to students that meet all of the following requirements:
Student free and reduced-price eligibility requirements:
- Determined eligible in SY 2022-23 for free or reduced-price meals through meal application, alternative income form, direct certification, or designation as homeless, migrant or foster; or
- Attended a school that participated in Provision 2 or the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), regardless of individual student eligibility.
Independent Study (IS) criteria:
- Missed in-person instruction through excused absences for five school days or more in a month, or
- Eligible for P-EBT in SY 2021-22 due to enrollment in IS and continued to attend school through IS for 5 or more days in a month in SY 2022-23.
Non-NSLP/SBP Participating Schools
For SY 2022-23, P-EBT benefits have been expanded to other groups of students eligible for free or reduced-price meals and attending any of the following school types: private and nonpublic participating schools, private virtual, virtual schools that do not participate in NSLP or SBP and homeschool children.
An application is required to determine eligibility for children attending a non-NSLP/SBP participating school. The household must complete the application between July 21, 2023, and August 15, 2023. The online application will close on August 15, 2023, and late applications will not be accepted. Applicants will be notified directly whether their child qualifies for benefits.
To apply for P-EBT, first gather the following eligibility information and documentation, then go to www.getpebt.org to complete an application.
The eligibility documentation requirements for this population are as follows:
Students were age 6 through 22 and were homeschooled or enrolled in a private virtual school during the SY 2022-23. Children under age 6 may be eligible to receive P-EBT through the childcare-age P-EBT process. Please visit the P-EBT website link provided in the resources section for more information about childcare-age P-EBT.
Note: A valid private homeschool affidavit number is required for homeschool students to apply for P-EBT. Private virtual school students must provide proof of enrollment in a private school that is registered with the CDE through the private school affidavit process and issued a County District School code (known as a CDS code).
Students must have left enrollment from a school participating in the National School Lunch or School Breakfast Programs after January 27, 2020, due to concerns about the COVID-19 outbreaks. Parents and guardians must attest to this fact as part of the application process.
Note: The CDSS will verify that students left enrollment in a participating school with information provided by the CDE.
Student households must be determined eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Eligibility can be determined by the submission of household size and income information through the application process at the link below. In addition, households may be automatically eligible without an application by providing a CalFresh, CalWORKs, or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservation case number or by demonstrating the students would have attended a public school that currently operates a federal provision (Community Eligibility Provision or Provision 2 or 3).
Note: Submission of household income information is required for those applying based on household size and income. For those eligible through participation in public assistance programs, the CDSS will verify CalFresh and CalWORKs case numbers prior to issuing benefits. Students using a provisional school to qualify will be asked to confirm which school the student would be attending in-person based on the mandatory attendance area.
Student proof of identity through the submission (copy) of one of the following documents:
- Birth certificate
- Immigration or naturalization documents
- Hospital birth record
- School (or work, if applicable) identification
- Health benefits card
- Tax forms with dependent information
New to California or K-2 Students
Students that began their school careers or were new to the state have additional eligibility requirements, as is explained below.
Students that began their school careers or were new to the state and attended in a nonparticipating virtual school, must meet the following eligibility requirements for SY 2022–23:
- Began school career in (kindergarten or first grade) or were new to the state between January 27, 2020, and May 11, 2023.
- Attended a school that does not participate in the federal NSLP or SBP and are identified by the CDE as primarily or exclusively virtual.
- Determined eligible for free or reduced-price meals through meal application, alternative income form, direct certification, or designation as homeless, migrant, or foster.
- Attested to enrolling in a virtual school due to concerns over COVID-19. Households may contact the CDSS helpline at 877-328-9677 to complete attestation.
School-age children will get $8.18 for each day they didn’t attend school in person because of COVID-19 during the 2022-2023 school year.
Summer P-EBT benefits are also available to school-age children. School-age children are eligible if they:
- Were eligible for free or reduced-price meals for SY 2022-23, and
- Attended a NSLP/SBP school or Provision 2 or CEP school.
Eligible school-aged children will receive $120 for Summer 2023 P-EBT benefits.
P-EBT 2.0 Expungement Reissuance
If your child received a P-EBT 2.0 card in 2021 and the benefits were expunged, you may be eligible for a reissuance of your P-EBT 2.0 card. Between June 29 – August 1, 2023 you can contact the P-EBT 2.0 Expungement Helpline at 1-800-887-8230 (Monday – Friday 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM) or visit the P-EBT website at www.ca.p-ebt.org and use the P-EBT Live Chat (Monday – Friday 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM) to request a new card.
To qualify for a P-EBT Reissuance. You must have:
- Received a P-EBT 2.0 in 2021, and
- Not used any of the benefits on the card, causing the benefits to be expunged.
When calling or chatting, make sure you have the following information ready:
- First and last name of the child(ren) you believe is eligible,
- Date of birth of the child(ren), and
- The address on file during the 2021 P-EBT 2.0 issuance
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.