What’s Coming Next? Pandemic EBT Update

Published on Feb 9, 2021 in Child Nutrition, School-Aged Children, Young Children

Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) provides food benefits to children who are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals and who have been affected by school closures due to the pandemic. The program continues to evolve, particularly with changes in federal policies. This update is meant to share answers to some commonly asked questions. We will continue to share updates as we learn more from state and federal administrators about the continuation of P-EBT.

Please note, children who receive P-EBT  can still eat meals served by schools. 


P-EBT 1.0

During the summer of 2020, P-EBT provided food benefits to more than 3.7 million school-aged children for the months of March, April, May, and June 2020 (CDSS, P-EBT Outcomes Report, 2020).

P-EBT Extension

California was approved to provide additional P-EBT benefits for the months of August and September 2020 to children who had previously received P-EBT benefits.

Who is eligible for P-EBT extension benefits? 

    1. Previously received P-EBT benefits for the 2019-20 school year;
    2. Are attending a California K-12 school for the 2020-21 school year; and
    3. Are assumed to be attending school virtually or via a hybrid model of virtual and in-person instruction for the 2020-21 school year.

How can I apply for P-EBT extension benefits?

  • Eligible families do not need to apply
  • A new card will be mailed directly to families

When will our P-EBT extension card arrive?

  • If you received P-EBT during the 2019-20 school year and are expecting a P-EBT extension card, but it hasn’t arrived, significant delays within the US Postal System may be delaying delivery. Cards may continue to arrive through January 2021. 
  • If you have changed mailing address since you received your first P-EBT card or if you requested a change of address in order to receive that first card, please call the P-EBT Helpline at (877) 328-9677 to make sure your new card was mailed to the correct address. The Helpline representative can process your change in address. 

What amount of P-EBT extension benefits will my child receive?

  • Benefits are based on each child’s learning situation, how many school days a student can be assumed to attend school via distance learning. For more details please see the  CDSS, P-EBT Extension FAQ 

How do I get help with P-EBT?

Contact the P-EBT Helpline at (877) 328-9677
  • For assistance with PIN set up, 
  • To request a replacement card
  • To report lost or stolen cards 
  • To request a change of address

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

What about public charge?

This resource is available to all, regardless of immigration status, and will not be considered in a public charge test.


The State of California is working on a plan to extend benefits to all children eligible for free and reduced meals for the entire 2020-2021 school year. The newest iteration, P-EBT 2.0, now includes benefits for children in child care facilities!

On January 29, 2021 the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued P-EBT Guidance for Schools and Child Care. USDA announced it will increase the daily P-EBT benefit by approximately 15% to account for the value of snacks typically served to children in school and childcare. The new benefit is $6.82 per day and states have the option to make it retroactive back to the beginning of SY 2020-2021.

USDA also prepared a set of Q&As to answer common questions and illustrate how states may apply the latest flexibilities.

P-EBT eligibility for children in schools will remain the same

  • The child would have received free or reduced price school meals under the NSLP and SBP if not for the COVID public health emergency; and
  • The child does not receive free or reduced-price meals at school because the school is closed or has been operating with reduced attendance or hours for at least 5 consecutive days in the current school year.

A child is eligible under P-EBT’s child care component if three conditions are met:

  • The child is a member of a household that received SNAP benefits at any time since October 1, 2020.
  • The child is enrolled in a covered child care facility, and
  • The facility is closed or is operating with reduced attendance or hours for at least 5 consecutive days, resulting in the child’s inability to attend the facility; or one or more schools in the area of the facility, or in the area of the child’s residence, is closed or is operating with reduced attendance or hours.

More information will be available once California's plan has been submitted and approved by USDA. If you would like to be notified, please subscribe to our email alerts.

Note: We encourage families to fill out school meal applications or income verification forms and submit them to their school/school district for the 2020-21 school year in order to help determine their children’s eligibility for P-EBT 2.0. 


Visit the CDSS P-EBT Homepage for additional information.

Have questions? Please contact Angeles Nelson


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