What is Pandemic EBT?

P-EBT is a federal program that provides food benefits for families with young children (0-6 years) who also got CalFresh Food benefits between October 2020 and May 2021 or school age children who were eligible for free or reduced price school meals during the 2020-21 school year.

P-EBT provides additional food benefits to make up for free or reduced-price meals usually served at child care or school that children may have missed because of the pandemic. Buying food for your family shouldn’t use up your whole budget. Pandemic EBT (or P-EBT) is a no-risk federal food benefits program that helps families afford food that keeps their kids strong and healthy. 

**You do not need to apply for P-EBT** P-EBT cards are automatically sent to eligible families based on information from other programs, including CalFresh Food benefits and Free or Reduced-Price School Meals.

Public charge rules do not apply to programs like CalFresh, P-EBT, WIC, and school meal programs. 

As of December 2021, all P-EBT 2.0 cards have been mailed out and reloaded with benefits. For more information, please visit the P-EBT website or call the P-EBT Helpline at (877) 328-9677 (M-F, 6 AM to 8 PM).


For additional information and resources, visit the California P-EBT website at https://ca.p-ebt.org/


The P-EBT Helpline can only help families that expected to receive a card in the mail or already received a P-EBT card. The P-EBT Helpline cannot assist with P-EBT eligibility issues or issue P-EBT benefits. 

Contact the P-EBT helpline at (877) 328-9677 (M-F, 6am to 8pm).


Families that receive P-EBT could also qualify for CalFresh Food benefits. 

If you are an individual or family, we encourage you to apply online at GetCalFresh.orgwww.BenefitsCal.com, or contact your county social services agency.


  • For immediate food assistance, find your local food bank. You can also call 2-1-1, a resource helpline for referrals for childcare, affordable housing or shelter, cash assistance, healthcare and more. 

  • Talk to a local expert on public benefits and immigration. Receiving P-EBT benefits will not affect your immigration status, or your chances of getting legal permanent residency in the future.

  • If you are a program operator at a school district or community organization, we offer resources and technical assistance. Please contact us at NoKidHungryCA@strength.org

Last Reviewed: January 13, 2022