COVID-19 Pandemic EBT

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  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.)