California P-EBT Extension – 2020/2021 School Year

If you have heard about the state of California offering a second P-EBT benefits to students and are wondering who is eligible and how to get benefits for your children, we can help. Yes, It is true! Children who got P-EBT benefits over the summer of 2020 in California will get more P-EBT benefits for the 2020-2021 school year. In this post, we will explain in detail what the California P-EBT extension is about and who qualifies.

Also, we will provide a timeline of when you can expect to receive the new benefits for the 2020-2021 school year.

Furthermore, we will answer the most frequently asked questions about the P-EBT extension, including how much each child will get and for how long.

"Second round of California P-EBT payment"

This post will cover:

  • What is the P-EBT Program?
  • What is California P-EBT Program
  • California P-EBT Extension (Second Round)
  • California P-EBT Extension FAQs

What is the P-EBT Program?

The P-EBT program is a federal assistance benefit. It is part of the U.S. government response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was established by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

P-EBT provides benefits to children that would have received free or reduced-price school meals, if not for COVID-related school closures.

P-EBT benefits are meant to replace breakfast and lunch that children who received free or reduced-price meals would normally receive during distance learning due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

It also applies to students who have experienced COVID-related reductions in school hours or attendance.

The benefits are very similar to SNAP benefits (food stamps).

What is California P-EBT Program

"California P-EBT Card"

California P-EBT is the local P-EBT program in the state of California.

It is run by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS), in collaboration with the California Department of Education (CDE).

The state received approval to operate the program in response to COVID-19 related school closures.

The program provides food benefits to help families with children who are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals but were disrupted due to COVID-19.

How Much will Each Student Receive in P-EBT Benefits?

P-EBT benefits for the 2019-2020 school year were valued at $5.70 per child per school day or $28.50 per child per week.

Furthermore, P-EBT benefits for the 2020-2021 school year were valued at $5.86 per child per school day, or $29.30 per child per week.

How do Families Receive P-EBT Benefits for Students?

For most households, P-EBT benefits were loaded onto SNAP cards, so retailers will not notice any difference between P-EBT and SNAP benefits.

For some households, P-EBT benefits were loaded onto new cards that do not look like SNAP cards, but work the same.

How can P-EBT benefits be used?

P-EBT households can use their benefits at retailers that accept food stamps (SNAP benefits).

In California, Families can use P-EBT benefits to buy food at most grocery stores and farmers’ markets.

Furthermore, P-EBT benefits can be used to buy groceries online at Amazon, Walmart, and Aldi stores through Instacart.

Also, families can also shop online at Albertsons, Vons, and Safeway stores and pay with their EBT card at pickup.

California P-EBT Extension

Recently, the state of California was granted authority to extend the P-EBT program.

This means that eligible children will get P-EBT food benefits for the entire 2020-21 school year.

Essentially, there will be a second round of P-EBT payments.

Congress reauthorized this extension on Oct. 1, 2020, for the 2020-2021 school year.

However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture just released the new guidelines for the program.

Furthermore, the COVID-19 stimulus bill passed in December 2020 included Lawmakers $13 billion for to food assistance programs, including P-EBT extension.

To provide P-EBT benefits for the 2020-21 school year, states must develop and submit a new P-EBT plan for federal approval.

The CDSS and CDE are awaiting federal guidance and will be working collaboratively to develop and submit an approvable plan as soon as possible.

We will keep an eye on this and will provide our readers with any new information once it is shared.

California P-EBT Extension FAQs

How do I find out if I am eligible for California P-EBT extension benefits?

If your child is eligible for P-EBT extension benefits, you will get a letter in the mail
with a new P-EBT card included.

New P-EBT cards will begin arriving in the mail in early November 2020 and through the end of December 2020.

What is the Payment Schedule for P-EBT Extension?

Once the The CDSS and CDE receive the necessary federal approval, they will release a payment schedule for the P-EBT extension benefits.

It will probably be paid retroactively, starting in to October 2020.

Who is eligible for Pandemic P-EBT Extension in California?

Children who got P-EBT benefits over the summer of 2020 will get more P-EBT benefits if:

  • They are still a California registered student
  • Can be assumed to be attending school via distance learning (online learning).

How much will each student receive in Pandemic EBT Benefit Extension?

Benefits amounts are unique to each child.

It is partly based on how many school days a student can be assumed to be attending school via distance learning.

What do I need to do when the new P-EBT card arrives in the mail?

When you receive the new P-EBT card in the mail, follow the instructions that come with your P-EBT card.

You will be required to create your private PIN number.

Also, families need to set up a new PIN even if they already set up a PIN for their original P-EBT card.

Furthermore, do not throw away your P-EBT card.

That’s because more benefits may be added later if the federal government
extends the program again.

For help in checking the balance on your P-EBT card, see our post on How to check California P-EBT Card balance.

California P-EBT Extension Summary

Here’s the bottom line:

California P-EBT is the state of California’s version of the P-EBT program.

The state of California was granted authority to provide P-EBT food benefits for the entire 2020-21 school year.

However, the state is still working on the guidelines for the second round of benefits.

Also, children that received benefits in the summer of 2020 are eligible for the extended benefits.

Finally, once the benefit payments are released, they will be retroactive October 2020, the month when Congress extended the program.


We hope this post on California P-EBT Extension was helpful.

If you have further questions about California P-EBT, CalFresh or California EBT Card, please let us know in the comments section below.

Be sure to check out our other articles about CalFresh and CalFresh EBT, including CalFresh LoginCalFresh Income LimitRestaurants that Accept EBT in LA County, How to Apply for CA Food Stamps, and How to Purchase Groceries Online with California EBT.