This message provides school food authorities (SFA) information and resources about the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) Program for School Year (SY) 2021–22 and Summer 2022. P-EBT is a federal program that gives eligible households food benefits to replace in-person school meals that children missed due to the pandemic.

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) will begin mailing SY 2021–22 P-EBT cards in November through December 2022. These cards will have benefits for the months of August 2021 through December 2021. P-EBT cards will be reloaded with a second issuance of benefits in December reflecting the P-EBT benefits for the months of January 2022 through May 2022. Summer 2022 P-EBT benefits will also be loaded on to existing cards in December. Newly eligible students will be mailed a card containing Summer 2022 benefits if they did not qualify for SY 2021–22 P-EBT.

Please note that P-EBT benefits are based on the amount of time a student missed school meals because they attended school through independent study or attended school in-person but had excused absences of at least 5 days or more during a month presumed due to COVID-19. Therefore, the number of students that qualify for P-EBT in SY 2021–22 and corresponding benefit levels may be significantly lower than in prior P-EBT issuances. P-EBT cards will be issued to each eligible student in a household. For example, a family with three eligible children would receive three P-EBT cards, one assigned to each eligible child.

Resources for SFAs and Households

The CDSS has resources available in multiple languages on a new P-EBT web page
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. SFAs can use these resources to communicate with households about P-EBT.

In addition, the CDSS has also made improvements to the P-EBT Helpline to assist eligible households with issues related to P-EBT, such as setting up a PIN, changing addresses, requesting replacement cards, or general questions about eligibility and benefits. Also, a new live chat feature is now available on the P-EBT website to provide general support. The contact information for the P-EBT Helpline is below.

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.) or use the new chat function on the CDSS P-EBT web page
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For Local Educational Agencies with questions about P-EBT, please email the California Department of Education at [email protected].

Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609

Last Reviewed: Monday, November 21, 2022