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.

Outreach

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.

Webinar

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
  • Additional Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources
    Additional resources curated by the California Department of Education (CDE) pertaining to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19)
    Information and resources regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) and California's response.
  • Nutrition
    Resources and information related to child nutrition, nutrition education, food distribution programs, and the Child Nutrition and Physical Activity Advisory Council.
  • Nutrition What's New
    News and announcements relating to nutrition for program operators and contacts.
  • School and Child and Adult Day Care Meals
    Part of the COVID-19 Guidance for K-12 Schools published on March 17, 2020. Updated May 22, 2020.
Recently Posted in Nutrition
  • Webinar: Tuesdays @ 2 School Nutrition Town Hall (added 22-May-2020)
    The CDE NSD is hosting virtual town hall events every two weeks to provide an opportunity for schools to discuss their plans and best practices for reopening their food service operations while mitigating COVID-19 risks.
  • P-EBT Phase 2: Online Application Now Open (added 22-May-2020)
    The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) Online Application is now open. 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.
  • FFVP Operations: Questions and Answers #2 (added 22-May-2020)
    Policy Memorandum SP 19-2020 FFVP during COVID-19 Questions and Answers #2 provides clarification on questions related to the administration of the FFVP during unanticipated school closures during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • USDA Child Nutrition Responses #21–25 (added 20-May-2020)
    The USDA released several Policy Memorandums that announced Child Nutrition Responses which include five waivers that are intended to provide clarification to state agencies and CNP operators during COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • Health and Safety Supplies Needs Assessment Survey (added 14-May-2020)
    To assist our sponsoring agencies who are serving their community during this health crisis, the CDE NSD is assessing the emergency supply needs for program operators who have been providing meals during the COVID-19 unanticipated school closures.

  • Pandemic EBT Frequently Asked Questions (added 14-May-2020)
    The California Department of Education (CDE) and Department of Social Services (CDSS) are partnering on the administration of Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) in California.
  • CNIPS Application Requirement Reminder (added 08-May-2020)
    The CDE NSD CNPU would like to remind SFSP and SSO sponsors to keep meal service site information and meal service dates and times entered in their Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS) site applications updated and current.
  • COVID-19: USDA Child Nutrition Responses (added 08-May-2020)
    Policy Memorandums announcing Child Nutrition Responses which include four waivers and one questions and answers document. These are intended to provide clarification to state agencies and CNP operators during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • COVID-19: CDE Handout and Fact Sheets (added 06-May-2020)
    The CDE NSD is providing additional resources to support local educational agencies during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
  • Waiver of NSLP Triennial Assessment (added 05-May-2020)
    On April 23, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response #18, Nationwide Waiver of Local School Wellness Policy Triennial Assessment in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program.