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Pandemic EBT for Summer 2021


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On July 22, 2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved the California Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) state plan for summer 2021, known as Summer P-EBT. The state plan provides Summer P-EBT to school age and childcare age children. For Summer P-EBT, many students that received School Year (SY) 2020–21 P-EBT (known as P-EBT 2.0) will receive Summer P-EBT. In addition, children determined newly eligible for free or reduced-price (F/RP) meals during the summer may also receive Summer P-EBT.

Students Previously Issued P-EBT 2.0 Benefits
Students approved for P-EBT 2.0 benefits for SY 2020‒21, and who were still enrolled in May 2021, are eligible for Summer P-EBT. Children who exited school or graduated early, transferred to a school not participating in the School Breakfast Program (SBP) or National School Lunch Program (NSLP), or who transferred out of state, will not be issued Summer P-EBT benefits. School age students that were determined eligible for P-EBT 2.0 benefits and enrolled in an SBP/NSLP participating school site as of May 2021, do not need to apply for Summer P-EBT benefits.
Newly Eligible Students

Students enrolled as of May 2021, but who did not previously receive P-EBT 2.0 benefits and are determined newly eligible for F/RP meals from June 1, 2021, through August 15, 2021, may also receive Summer P-EBT benefits.

To ensure access to Summer P-EBT benefits, local educational agencies (LEA) need to provide an opportunity for school age students to apply for F/RP school meals throughout the covered summer period (June 1, 2021, to August 15, 2021). School age students that may be newly eligible for Summer P-EBT may submit an F/RP meal application or alternative income information form to their school to be determined eligible for Summer P-EBT.

Note: Students attending a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) or Provision school that establishes a base year in SY 2021–22, and were not previously eligible for P-EBT in SY 2020–21, will not receive Summer P-EBT benefits. New CEP and Provision schools may collect alternative income information forms for Summer P-EBT eligibility.

Summer P-EBT Childcare Age Eligibility

Young children (under six years old) who are getting CalFresh food benefits during the summer may also be eligible for Summer P-EBT benefits. This includes:

  • Young children issued P-EBT benefits in May 2021, and continue to get CalFresh food benefits at any point during the months of June, July, or August 2021.
  • Young children who get CalFresh food benefits for the first time at any point during the months of June, July, or August 2021.

Young children do not need to apply for Summer P-EBT. Eligibility is based on getting CalFresh food benefits between June and August 2021. As a result, LEAs do not need to provide opportunities for young children to apply for P-EBT or F/RP school meals.

LEAs Responsibility for Summer P-EBT

LEAs should provide an opportunity for newly eligible students to apply for Summer P-EBT. The California Department of Education (CDE) recognizes that each school operates differently, but it is important over the summer months that LEAs implement a method for providing the opportunity for students to apply for F/RP school meals. If determined eligible for F/RP meals, the child will receive Summer P-EBT.

The following are some options for making this opportunity available:

  • Schedule office hours for families to drop off meal application or alternative income information form
  • Have parents submit an online meal application
  • Create secure drop boxes for families to place their meal application
  • Include the meal application or information on how to apply in new student orientation packets
  • Include the meal application or information on how to apply in your summer grab and go meals

In addition, LEAs should communicate with households about how school age children can be determined eligible for Summer P-EBT benefits by applying for F/RP meals, which may include the following:

  • Post information on websites
  • Provide posters and flyers
  • Include information in your early back to school letter
  • Send out a summer Robo-call
  • Use social media
The CDE’s Process to Determine Students Newly Eligible for Summer P-EBT

The CDE will use the following criteria, based on data in the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS), to determine if school age children are newly eligible for Summer P-EBT:

  • Determined not previously eligible for P-EBT 2.0
  • Enrolled in a school participating in the SBP or NSLP in May 2021
  • Eligible based on:
    • An approved meal application or alternative income information form, received by the school between June 1, 2021, and August 15, 2021, and a F/RP meal record in CALPADS reflecting an eligibility start date in that time period; or
    • Direct Certification in CALPADS between June 1, 2021, and August 15, 2021; or
    • A homeless, migrant, or foster record in CALPADS with a start date between June 1, 2021, and August 15, 2021

The CDE will extract data from CALPADS Operational Data Store (ODS) on October 1, 2021. This will provide time for nutrition services staff to evaluate meal applications and household income forms, and for CALPADS staff to upload records.

Summer P-EBT Benefits and Timeline for Benefits

Each eligible child (childcare and school age) will receive Summer P-EBT benefits totaling $375 in a single issuance. Summer P-EBT benefits will be issued onto existing P-EBT 2.0 cards, or if a child becomes newly eligible during the summer period, onto a new P-EBT 2.0 card that will be mailed to the eligible child during the month of December 2021.

Resources for Families and Schools

Families that require assistance with P-EBT can call the P-EBT Helpline at 877-328-9677 (M-F, 8am to 6pm). The P-EBT Helpline can assist with PIN set-up, address changes, request for replacement cards, or general questions about eligibility and benefits.

For more information about P-EBT, eligible families may visit the P-EBT web pageExternal link opens in new window or tab.. Schools can also find P-EBT materials for partners, including fact sheets, frequently asked questions, and more.

For updated information about COVID-19 emergency feeding, please visit the CDE COVID-19 Guidance in the Child Nutrition Programs web page.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, August 4, 2021
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