P(EBT)

A sample of a P-EBT card on the California Department of Social Service’s website.

Families with kids who normally have access to free or reduced-priced school meals will receive extra food benefits from the state this month while schools remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Pandemic electronic benefits transfer (P-EBT) card should begin arriving in mailboxes between May 12 and May 22. The benefit is expected to assist approximately 3.8 million children statewide, according to the California Department of Social Services.

Most families with children who already receive CalFresh, Medi-Cal or Foster Care benefits do not need to apply for the P-EBT. Families whose children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals and who do not get CalFresh, Medi-Cal or Foster Care benefits must apply before June 30. The application will be available online later this month at https://ca.p-ebt.org/.

The P-EBT is a one-time benefit of up to $365 for each eligible child in a household. The total amount is based on the value a child would have received in school meals during the months of March, April, May and June. Families can still get pick-up meals at schools and community locations.

“Many households in Riverside County depend on school meals. This additional benefit will help struggling families keep nutritious food on their tables,” said Allison Gonzalez, assistant director of DPSS’ Self Sufficiency Division. “

P-EBT is separate from the CalFresh program, federally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). CalFresh issues monthly electronic benefits that can be used at many markets and food stores. The program helps to improve the health and well-being of qualified households and individuals by providing them a means to meet their nutritional needs. For every dollar of CalFresh money spent, $1.79 is generated in local economic activity, according to California Department of Social Services.

“This is great news for families with children,” said Board Chair V. Manuel Perez, Fourth District Supervisor. “We are doing everything we can to make sure all residents of Riverside County have food to eat through these challenging times.”

Customers with questions about the P-EBT program can call the California EBT Customer Service Center at 877-328-9677. The center is open every day 24 hours.

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