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SY 2022-23 P-EBT for Students at Public Schools

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On July 19, 2023, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved the California School Year (SY) 2022–23 Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) state plan for school age children. P-EBT is a federal program that provides households of eligible students food benefits to replace in-person school meals that children missed due to the pandemic. In California, P-EBT is administered through a partnership between the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) and the California Department of Education (CDE). The CDSS is the lead state agency for P-EBT with the CDE providing the data necessary to determine eligibility and benefit levels.

The purpose of this communication is to address the eligibility requirements and benefit issuance for school age students that attend public schools that participate in the National School Lunch (NSLP) or School Breakfast Program (SBP). P-EBT benefit levels are based on the amount of time a student missed school meals because they attended school through independent study (IS) or attended school in-person but were absent presumed due to COVID-19.

Note: Because of changes in federal law surrounding P-EBT eligibility, the CDSS and CDE anticipate that the number of students that qualify for P-EBT in SY 2022–23 and the corresponding benefit amounts may be significantly lower than in prior P-EBT issuances.

SY 2022–23 P-EBT Eligibility and Benefits Timeline

No application is required for students that attended a public school that participates in the NSLP or SBP. The CDSS will automatically issue SY 2022–23 P-EBT benefits to students that meet all of the following requirements:

  • Student free and reduced-price eligibility requirements:
    • Determined eligible in SY 2022–23 for free or reduced-price meals through meal application, alternative income form, direct certification, or designation as homeless, migrant, or foster; or
    • Attended a school that participates in Provision 2 or the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), regardless of individual student eligibility
  • IS or absence criteria
    • Missed in-person instruction through excused absences for five school days or more in a month, or
    • Eligible for P-EBT in SY 2021–22 due to enrollment in IS and continued to attend school through IS for 5 or more days in a month in SY 2022–23.

The CDE will use eligibility data maintained in the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) to identify eligible children. The CDE collected attendance and IS data from local education agencies (LEA) in June and July using a separate collection tool to determine the benefit level. P-EBT cards will be mailed to the student mailing address listed in the CALPADS.

The CDE provided instructions to CALPADS administrators about populating addresses for students without an address (due to homelessness or other reasons). For students without an address, cards will be mailed to a designated school or district office for distribution. If no address was provided, cards will be mailed to the district office address.

For SY 2022–23, P-EBT benefits have been expanded to other groups of students eligible for free or reduced-price meals and attending the following school types: private and nonpublic participating schools, private virtual, virtual schools that do not participate in NSLP or SBP, and homeschooled children. The CDE will send a separate communication to those groups.

Benefit Amount

The amount of benefit each student will receive is based on the daily rate of $8.18 multiplied by the number of days of excused absences or IS attendance of five or more days in a month as reported by LEAs. SY 2022–2023 P-EBT benefits will cover the period between August 1, 2022 and May 11, 2023 (the end of the federal COVID emergency). Only students that had five or more absences or IS days in a month will receive benefits.

Summer 2023 P-EBT

In April 2023, the USDA approved the California Summer 2023 P-EBT plan. Summer P-EBT benefits are currently being processed and mailed by the CDSS.

Families that received Summer P-EBT cards will have their SY 2022–23 P-EBT benefits reloaded to those existing cards in August and September 2023.

Any students that were not issued a Summer 2023 P-EBT card (i.e., graduated earlier than May 2023) will get a new P-EBT card issued with only the SY 2022–23 benefits during August and September. Information about Summer 2023 P-EBT is available on our web page.

Communications and Resources for Eligible Households

The CDSS will send postcards in the mail about the upcoming availability of SY 2022–23 P-EBT benefits to eligible households prior to card distribution. In addition, the CDSS will update resources soon for eligible households and partners (available in multiple languages) on the P-EBT web page External link opens in new window or tab..

The CDSS established the P-EBT Helpline to assist eligible households with questions about P-EBT. The P-EBT Helpline can assist with:

  • P-EBT card PIN set-up,
  • Mailing address changes,
  • Requests for replacement cards, and
  • General questions about individual eligibility and benefit amounts.

The contact information for the P-EBT Helpline is below. Only the Helpline has access to card data and can assist families with these issues. The CDE does not have individual data and therefore cannot assist with card issuance.

Contact Information

Households that require assistance with P-EBT cards can call the P-EBT Helpline at 877-328-9677 (Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.)

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

For LEAs with questions about P-EBT program implementation, please email the CDE at

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, July 25, 2023
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