The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) in conjunction with the California Department of Education (CDE) have identified children from households that are directly certified to receive free and reduced-price school meals to automatically receive a Pandemic-EBT benefit card (up to $365) in the mail from May 12 to May 22. P-EBT cards can be used like debit cards to buy food at most grocery stores and farmers’ markets. P-EBT benefits are in addition to other food assistance programs, such as school meals, CalFresh and WIC.
Families with children who are eligible for Free or Reduced-Price meals that have not yet received a P-EBT card in the mail, can now apply for P-EBT benefits online at http://www.ca.p-ebt.org/ from May 22 through June 30.
If you have any questions, please contact CDSS directly.
California Department of Social Services
744 P Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
Please click on the links below to get more information on the P-EBT benefits.
What are ‘P-EBT’ or Pandemic EBT benefits?
Due to coronavirus (COVID 19), children who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals at school will get extra food benefits. These food benefits are called Pandemic EBT or P-EBT benefits. P-EBT benefits help families in California buy food when school is closed.
Who is eligible for P-EBT benefits?
Children are eligible for P-EBT benefits if:
- their school is closed due to coronavirus (COVID 19); and
- they are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals
How do I get P-EBT benefits?
Apply online at ca.p-ebt.org before June 30, 2020. Most families with children who receive CalFresh, Medi-Cal or Foster Care benefits do not need to apply online. They will get their P-EBT card in the mail between May 7- 22, 2020.
Families with children who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals and who do NOT get CalFresh, Medi-Cal or Foster Care benefits must apply online before June 30, 2020.
If I already got a P-EBT card in the mail do I need to apply online?
No. If you already got a P-EBT card in the mail do not apply online. Follow the instructions that came with your P-EBT card and create your private PIN number. Then your card will be ready to use.
Is my family still eligible to participate in school meal programs
through COVID-19 emergency feeding if we receive P-EBT?
Yes. P-EBT benefits are additional benefits that do not replace any child nutrition program meals being offered. Children may continue to receive “grab n go” meals or emergency food at COVID-19 emergency feeding sites offered by schools and community locations, even if they are receiving P-EBT benefits.
How much in P-EBT benefits will I get?
You can get up to $365 for each child who is eligible for P-EBT benefits. The total amount you will get depends on how many eligible children are living in your home. Most families with children who are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals will get $365 for each child. If you do not get your P-EBT card in the mail and you apply before June 30th , 2020, you will get the full amount of benefits. Families with children who applied and got CalFresh, Medi-Cal or Foster Care benefits after their school closed, may get less than $365 for each child. This depends on when you applied for CalFresh, Medi-Cal or Foster Care.
What can I buy with P-EBT benefits?
Your P-EBT benefits can buy food in most grocery stores and farmers’ markets, or to purchase groceries online at Amazon and WalMart.
Use your P-EBT card like a debit card:
- Select "EBT"
- Swipe the card
- Enter your private PIN number
What should I do when I get my P-EBT card in the mail?
Follow the instructions that came with your P-EBT card and create your private PIN number. Then your card can be used to buy food in most grocery stores and farmers markets, including online at at Amazon and WalMart.
When is the deadline to apply for P-EBT benefits?
You must apply by June 30, 2020 to get P-EBT benefits. P-EBT benefits are only available while schools are closed due to coronavirus (COVID-19). If you didn’t get a P-EBT card in the mail and do not apply by June
30, 2020 you will not be able to get P-EBT benefits. Apply online at ca.p-ebt.org.
What if I applied online and haven’t received my P-EBT card?
Call California’s EBT customer service center at (877) 328-9677. You can reach them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
How long do I have to spend my P-EBT benefits?
You can use your P-EBT benefits for one year. It starts on the date you get your P-EBT card.
If I get P-EBT benefits, will it make me a public charge?
P-EBT is a disaster emergency benefit based on free and reduced fee school meals eligibility, similar to other benefits that DHS has said would not be considered for public charge purposes. However, USCIS can consider several factors under their public charge test. Public charge does not apply to all immigrants. If you have questions about your immigration status and this food benefit, more information is available here, including a list of free and low-cost immigration services providers.
In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.
Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.
To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:
(1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
(2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or
(3) email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.