APPLICATION CLOSED: Get $365 for your kids for groceries the P-EBT

June 23, 2020

Pandemic EBT (P-EBT)

Families can get up to $365 per eligible child on their P-EBT card to use on food and groceries.

The Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) program was created as a federal benefit that helps families afford food during this coronavirus emergency. It provides an Electronic Benefits Transfer card that can be used at grocery stores, farmer’s markets, and online grocery orders at Walmart.com or Amazon.com (delivery fees may apply). 

If you are a school district or program operator, check out the No Kid Hungry California Pandemic EBT Outreach Kit

How Do Students Get P-EBT Benefits?

UPDATE: CDSS is experiencing a delay in processing applications for P-EBT due to the high volume of people who need help during the pandemic. If families have not received an email to notify them that their P-EBT card is on the way, CDSS will not be able to provide information on their application status by phone or email. Families with eligible students will hear back from CDSS with their final eligibility status by July 31th.

P-EBT Cards Mailed Automatically. From May 12 through May 25, P-EBT cards were automatically sent to some eligible children. Most children who participate in CalFresh, Medi-Cal, or are in Foster Care and are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals should have automatically received a P-EBT card in the mail.

P-EBT Application Deadline Extended. Families who did not automatically receive a P-EBT card for their eligible children in May 2020 must apply at ca.p-ebt.org before July 15, 2020.

Children Newly Eligible for Free and Reduced-Price Meals. If a child is determined eligible for free or reduced-price meals on or after March 16, 2020 (of COVID-19-related school closures in CA), that child is eligible for pro-rated P-EBT benefits. A child who is directly certified for free or reduced-price meals on or after March 16, 2020 should automatically receive a P-EBT card without needing to apply. That card will arrive after May 2020 and the specific timing will depend on the date of direct certification. If a family submits a school meal application on or after March 16, 2020 and their child is determined eligible for free or reduced-price meals, that family must apply for P-EBT ca.p-ebt.org before July 15, 2020. 

CDSS created an eligibility flow chart for parents with school-aged children: 

*All students in Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) and Provision 2 schools are eligible for P-EBT. Here are some FAQs of P-EBT for School and School District Partners relating to CEP and P2.


P-EBT and school meals ARE NOT “public charge” benefits and DO NOT affect immigration status. Information is not shared with the federal government.


Applying for P-EBT is easy!

The deadline has been extended, so apply online before July 15, 2020!

The application is available in three languages: English, Spanish and Chinese.

UPDATE: CDSS is experiencing delays in processing applications for P-EBT due to the high volume of people who need help during the pandemic. While CDSS suggests to not call to check the status of your application. The call center does not have information on application status. They are still available to support address changes, PIN set up, and other inquiries that require assistance. Always provide a phone number when sending a message.

You can call the EBT Customer Service Center at (877) 328-9677

Send your inquiry: https://inquiry.pebt.dss.ca.gov/

Easy to use like a debit card.

The use and set up is like a debit card! Families will receive up to $365 per eligible student on a P-EBT card to use at:

  • Most grocery stores,
  • Online grocery orders at Walmart.com or Amazon.com (delivery fees may apply),
  • Farmer’s markets (like regular EBT benefits, P-EBT benefits used at farmers markets can be doubled through Market Match, a nutrition incentive program where shoppers can double their food dollars by receiving additional market coins for free to spend on fruits and vegetables).

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About No Kid Hungry

No child should go hungry in America. But 1 in 4 kids could face hunger due to the coronavirus pandemic. No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger through effective programs that provide kids with the food they need. This is a problem we know how to solve. No Kid Hungry is a campaign of Share Our Strength, an organization working to end hunger and poverty. Join us at NoKidHungry.org