California P-EBT Phone Number (Speak to a Live Person)

Even though the California Department of Social Service (CDSS) offices may be closed due to the pandemic, CDSS employees are assisting people by telephone. In this post, we will provide the California P-EBT Phone Number to call for help with your Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) benefits.

However, before you call the California P-EBT Helpline, scroll below to see if the question you are calling about is already answered here.

Additionally, we have provided updates on Summer 2023 P-EBT benefits and 2023 P-EBT 4.0 benefits below.

"California P-EBT Phone Number"

What is California P-EBT Program?

"California P-EBT Card"

Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) provides food assistance to households with children who are enrolled in a free or reduced-price school meal program while schools are out of session due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The program operates similarly to the CalFresh or SNAP/food stamps program.

Benefits are pre-loaded funds on P-EBT cards to eligible children and can be used exclusively for food purchases.

Pandemic EBT was originally scheduled to expire on September 30, 2020.

However, the program was extended through the 2022/2023 school year with P-EBT 4.0 benefits to be distributed in 2023.

California P-EBT Phone Number

If you have an issue with your California P-EBT card, see the contact number below:

The number to call is 1- 877- 328-9677

Representatives are available between 8:00 am – 7:00 pm., Monday through Friday.

However, hold times have been reported to be very long, as many people are calling the CDSS to inquire about P-EBT benefits for their children, including benefits for the 2020/2021 school year (P-EBT 2.0) and the summer 2021 extension.

To save you time and frustration, we have provided answers below to the most common reasons people call the California P-EBT Phone Number.

Scroll down to see if your question is answered below.

How to speak to a live person

Here’s how to reach a LIVE person at the P-EBT Phone Helpline:

It can be frustrating to call the P-EBT helpline and find yourself speaking to an automated system.

Here is how you can get to a real person when you call the P-EBT helpline:

Step 1

Call 1-877- 328-9677 for assistance.

Step 2

Select your language

Step 3

Select “0” when asked for a card number, twice if necessary

Step 4

Select “report lost” or “unauthorized card use” to be connected to a person

Step 5

Tell that person you are missing your P-EBT card

Before you call the California P-EBT Phone Number

As we mentioned above, the California P-EBT Phone lines are flooded with phone calls from people trying to get details about P-EBT benefits for their kids.

Therefore, hold times are long when you call the phone number.

We have answered the top questions people call the California P-EBT Phone Number for.

Scroll down below to see if your question has been answered below.

When will the 2023 California P-EBT 4.0 Benefits be Distributed?

P-EBT cards for school-aged children will start mailing out in August 2023 for those who were eligible from August 2022 to May 2023.

Cards for young children under 6 will also be mailed in August for those eligible from August to December 2022.

The cards will be reloaded in September 2023 for young children eligible from January to August 2023.

How Much will my Child Receive in California P-EBT 4.0?

The benefit amount depends on the category your child falls under:

  • School-Aged Children (TK-12): They will receive $8.18 for each day they didn’t attend school in person due to COVID-19 during the 2022-2023 school year. Additionally, eligible school-aged children will receive $120 for Summer 2023 P-EBT benefits.
  • Young Children (under 6): Young children will receive benefits for each month they received CalFresh Food benefits from August 2022 through May 2023. The amount varies based on Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) meal claim reductions during the school year, with eligible young children receiving up to $36 per month.

When will the 2023 California Summer P-EBT Benefits be Distributed?

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) will begin mailing Summer P-EBT cards between July 16, 2023, and August 30, 2023.

These cards, distinguishable as P-EBT 4.0 cards, will be mailed to the address maintained in the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Database (CALPADS).

It is important for school districts to ensure that address data is up-to-date, and for students without an address, to populate either the school or district address.

How Much will my Child Receive in Summer 2023 P-EBT Benefits?

For the Summer 2023 P-EBT period from June through August 2023, each eligible child will receive a set benefit amount of $120.

How do I Activate California P-EBT Card?

To activate your P-EBT card, call the EBT Customer Service Center at (877) 328-9677.

Option 4 will allow you to set a PIN for your new card.

However, you’ll need the following information to activate your card:

  • The 16-digit card number found on the front of your card
  • Your zip code for your mailing address
  • The 6-digit date of birth for the child named on the card.

How Do I check my California P-EBT Card Balance?

You can check your California P-EBT Card balance by calling the Customer Service number on the back of your card.

We have also provided the number below for your convenience.

California P-EBT Customer Service Number: 1-877-328-9677

The Customer Service Hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

After you call, enter your P-EBT card number and you will hear your account balance.

Who receives the P-EBT benefit for eligible students?

P-EBT benefits will be issued to the parent or guardian identified by the school district for the eligible student who receives free or reduced-price meals.

Are non-citizen students eligible for P-EBT?

Non-citizen students qualify for P-EBT benefits if they are eligible to receive free and reduced-price school meals in a school that participates in the National School Lunch Program.

I don’t want to use my P-EBT funds. What do I do?

If you do not feel your family needs the P-EBT benefits, and you would like to decline benefits, please destroy the card after you get it.

P-EBT benefits are non-transferrable.

California P-EBT Phone Number Summary

We hope this post on the California P-EBT Phone Number was helpful.

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

Also, be sure to check out our other articles about CalFresh and CalFresh EBT, including:

Get the Complete Guide of EBT Discounts for 2024! $1,000+ Worth of Savings!