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P-EBT for School Age Children


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On June 4, 2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved the California Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) State plan for school age children, known as P-EBT 2.0. The State plan provides P-EBT for the 2020‒21 School Year (SY) to school age children that meet the following requirements:

  • Attended a school that participated in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or School Breakfast Program (SBP), including the Seamless Summer Option, in SY 2019‒20 or 2020‒21
  • Determined eligible for free or reduced-price meals through direct certification, alternative income information form, meal application, or designation as homeless, migrant, or foster; or attended a school that participates in Provisions 1, 2, 3, or Community Eligibility Provision in SY 2019‒20 or 2020‒21, regardless of individual student eligibility
  • Assumed to be attending school via distance learning for a portion of each month of the school year. School status (i.e., all distance learning, hybrid learning, or all in-person learning) is based on a survey of schools participating in the NSLP or SBP conducted during the months of May and June 2021
P-EBT 2.0 Benefits

Eligible children do not need to apply for P-EBT 2.0 to receive a P-EBT card.

P-EBT benefits for the first two months of SY 2020–21 (August and September 2020) were sent to most students who previously received P-EBT benefits for SY 2019–20. Students that already received P-EBT benefits for the months of August and September 2020 will be issued a P-EBT 2.0 supplement for August and September 2020 due to an increase in the daily rate to $6.82 and, if eligible, will receive P-EBT benefits for the months of October 2020 to May 2021.

Students who have not yet received P-EBT benefits for the months of August and September 2020 (for example because they became newly eligible for free or reduced-price meals during SY 2020‒21), will receive P-EBT benefits for the months of August 2020 to May 2021.

The amount of P-EBT benefits provided each month is commensurate with the learning model most commonly used by students enrolled at the school site, as reported by the Local Education Agency for each month of the school year. For students enrolled at a school that did not complete the school status survey, the amount of P-EBT benefits provided each month is commensurate with the learning model most commonly used by students enrolled at school sites that completed the survey in a given county.

For months in which students are assumed to have attended school via distance learning, the benefit amount is $123. For months in which students are assumed to have attended school via a hybrid model, the benefit amount is $68. For months students were assumed to have attended school only in-person, no P-EBT benefits will be provided.

Timeline for P-EBT 2.0 Benefit Issuance

Distribution of P-EBT cards to school age children is anticipated to begin in September and continue through November. Cards mailed during this timeframe will have P-EBT benefits for the months of August 2020 through January 2021. It is anticipated that cards will be automatically reloaded with a second issuance of benefits in late November, with P-EBT benefits for the months of February 2021 through May 2021.

Communications and Resources for Eligible Families

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) will send communications about the upcoming availability of P-EBT benefits to eligible families prior to card distribution and the second issuance of P-EBT benefits. In addition, the CDSS will be launching a campaign to raise public awareness about P-EBT. Beginning June 22, 2021, resources for eligible families and partners will be available on a new P-EBT web pageExternal link opens in new window or tab.. An informational flyer is also available on the California Department of Education (CDE) Pandemic EBT 2.0 Address Update Flyer web page.

The CDSS has increased P-EBT Helpline capacity to assist eligible families with questions about P-EBT 2.0. The P-EBT Helpline can assist with PIN set-up, address changes, request for replacement cards, or general questions about eligibility and benefits. The contact information for the helpline is below.

Contact Information

Families that require assistance with P-EBT cards can call the P-EBT Helpline at 877-328-9677.

For more information about P-EBT, you may visit the CDSS P-EBT web pageExternal link opens in new window or tab., launching June 22, 2021.

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: Thursday, June 10, 2021
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