The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has provided information about Pandemic EBT (P-EBT), which will provide families a standalone food benefit amount equal to the value of free or reduced-price (FRP) school means that are no longer available because of school closures caused by COVID-19. All students eligible for FRP meals statewide are eligible for P-EBT will be eligible, including students in charter schools and private schools so long as the school participates in the federally funded School Breakfast Program and/or the National School Lunch Program, regardless of whether they receive CalFresh benefits.
Students who are directly certified for FRP because they receive certain benefits, including CalFresh, CalWORKs, Medi-Cal and foster care, will be automatically eligible for P-EBT. Automatically eligible families will receive a P-EBT card in the mail without applying. For these families, P-EBT card issuance will begin on May 8. If a family thinks they are eligible but has not received a P-EBT card by May 25, they should apply online.
Students who approved for FRP meals based on a paper application or community eligibility will need to apply for P-EBT online. CDSS will verify eligibility by checking against a list of all students who were approved to receive FRP during the 2019-20 school year. If verified eligible, these families will receive a P-EBT card in the mail within 5-10 days of applying. The online application will be open from May 22 to June 30 at https://ca.p-ebt.org. Families will not be able to apply after June 30 and will not be able to receive the benefit.
The benefit amount will be $365 for most eligible children. A few children who were directly certified for the first time this school year after school closure will receive a pro-rated amount based on the date they were directly certified. These families do not need to apply but their P-EBT card may not arrive until as late as the end of June.
P-EBT benefits will be provided on a separate P-EBT card. It can be used just like regular EBT cards.
P-EBT eligible families can receive P-EBT, CalFresh and to go meals provided by schools at the same time. P-EBT eligible families do not need to choose between these available resources. (ACWDL, May 7, 2020.)