Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

P-EBT Approved to Feed Children During COVID-19

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Main Web Page

On Friday, April 24, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved California’s application to operate a Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program during COVID-19.

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) will issue P-EBT benefits to households currently receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and to households with children who are eligible for free and reduced-price school meals whose schools were closed for at least five consecutive days during the COVID-19 emergency.

Through the P-EBT program, each eligible child in the household will receive $5.70 per day for each day of the month in which school was cancelled due to COVID-19. The California Department of Education (CDE) and CDSS estimate that this will provide more than $1.4 billion to over 3.8 million school children throughout the state to address food insecurity during this emergency.

The CDE and CDSS have identified children from households that are directly certified to receive Free and Reduced-Price school meals. These households will automatically be mailed their P-EBT card in the coming weeks. Beginning in Mid-May, children from households who were not directly certified for free and reduced-price school meals will be able to apply online for P-EBT.


The CDE and CDSS will provide P-EBT outreach toolkits to school nutrition partners in the coming weeks. The P-EBT outreach toolkit includes sample communications for schools to notify eligible households about the availability of P-EBT. Schools are strongly encouraged to only use these state-provided outreach materials to reduced confusion about this new, time-limited pandemic relief program. Attached is a one page flyer that summarizes the benefits of P-EBT for families.


The CDE and CDSS will host a P-EBT Information Webinar on Thursday, April 30 from 10-11am. During this webinar, we will provide more information about P-EBT, including school districts’ role in helping families access this essential nutritional support. You can register for the webinar on the P-EBT Information Webinar web page External link opens in new window or tab..

Frequently Asked Questions
  1. Are children who are still receiving school meals through COVID-19 emergency feeding sites eligible to participate in P-EBT?

    Response: Yes. P-EBT benefits are in addition to, not in lieu of, free and reduced-price meal benefits. Children who receive P-EBT may still continue to receive meals at COVID-19 emergency sites.
  1. Does a child’s immigration status impact their ability to participate in P-EBT?

    Response: No, P-EBT is a program that is affiliated with free and reduced-price meal eligibility. Similar to school meal programs, there are no restrictions by immigration status associated with P-EBT. P-EBT is not the same as CalFresh or Food Stamps.
Contact Information

For more information about P-EBT, you may visit the CDSS P-EBT web page External link opens in new window or tab..

For updated information about COVID-19 emergency feeding, please visit the CDE COVID-19 School and Child and Adult Day Care Meals web page. This page is updated each Friday with new information.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, April 28, 2020
Related Content
Recently Posted in Nutrition
  • Pandemic EBT Final Eligibility Determinations (added 03-Aug-2020)
    Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) final eligibility determinations and appeals process.
  • MB: Processor Inventory Reconciliation 2019–20 (added 31-Jul-2020)
    In response to COVID-19 and the unforeseen changes in food usage and inventory, the CDE, FDP, is amending its annual Processor Inventory Reconciliation process for School Year 2019–20 carryover year.
  • CACFP Program Year 2020-21 Open July 31, 2020 (added 31-Jul-2020)
    This posting notifies CACFP centers that Program Year 2020–21 will open on today, July 31st, 2020. Agencies must update and submit their application in the CNIPS prior to August 31, 2020.
  • CACFP Annual Updates 2020–21 (added 31-Jul-2020)
    This posting notifies CACFP agencies that part of the annual update application process includes submitting the CACFP Financial Summary Document.
  • SFSP Meal Pattern Flexibility Waiver Extension 5 (added 31-Jul-2020)
    On July 30, 2020, the USDA extended the effective date of the national waiver to allow meal pattern flexibility for the SFSP through August 31, 2020.

  • Virtual Learning Opportunities for CNPs (added 30-Jul-2020)
    The California Department of Education (CDE) Nutrition Services Division (NSD) is pleased to announce US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Team Nutrition (TN) updates to virtual learning opportunities for Child Nutrition Program (CNP) Operators.
  • July 14, 2020 Tuesday at 2 Webinar (added 30-Jul-2020)
    The CDE NSD hosted the fifth Tuesday @ 2: School Nutrition Town Hall webinar on July 14, 2020. The webinar provided discussion on transitioning back to school and moving forward in meal service amidst COVID-19.
  • Processor Inventory Reconciliation Modification (added 29-Jul-2020)
    Management Bulletin FDP-01-2020: This is the complete subject line.
  • Reminder for Application for CEP (added 24-Jul-2020)
    On April 1, 2020, the California Department of Education (CDE) shared guidance that the U.S. Department of Agriculture had extended the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) application deadline to August 31, 2020.
  • Mandatory Food Safety Inspection Survey SY 2019–20 (added 21-Jul-2020)
    The USDA requires the California Department of Education NSD to annually collect data from LEAs regarding mandatory food safety inspections conducted at school sites that serve lunch or breakfast.