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.
What is California P-EBT Program?
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, on October 1, 2020, the program was extended for an additional year – through September 30, 2021.
Additionally, under the American Rescue plan signed into law in March 2021, the P-EBT program was further extended through the end of the pandemic.
Furthermore, the program’s eligibility was expanded to include children under 6 in SNAP households.
Also, on January 22, in support of President Biden’s call to action on hunger, USDA announced that it is increasing the P-EBT benefit by approximately 15 percent.
This was aimed at providing more money for low-income families and millions of children missing meals due to school and child care closures.
California P-EBT Extended Through Summer 2021
Lastly, the California P-EBT program has been extended through Summer 2021 and will likely be offered in the Summer of 2022.
Eligible children will receive a one-time payment of $375 to cover the entire summer period of June through August 2021.
Click here for details on the Summer 2021 P-EBT Extension and who is eligible.
If you need to speak to California P-EBT Customer service, we can help. Continue reading.
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:
Call 1-877- 328-9677 for assistance.
Select your language
Select “0” when asked for a card number, twice if necessary
Select “report lost” or “unauthorized card use” to be connected to a person
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 California Issue P-EBT for the 2020/2021 School Year?
Even though P-EBT benefits were approved by Congress for the 2020/2021 school year (also known as P-EBT 2.0), states have to submit a plan to the USDA to be approved to operate their P-EBT program for the 2020/2021 school year.
The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) and the Department of Education (CDE) have been working on submitting a plan to the USDA for approval.
Once that plan is submitted and approved, the state will issue P-EBT benefits for the 2020/2021 school year.
As of May 1, 2021, California has not been approved to issue P-EBT 2.0 benefits.
The CDSS and CDE continue to work with the USDA to secure approval of our P-EBT plan.
Additionally, The CDSS and CDE will communicate to stakeholders as soon as the state plan is approved and P-EBT cards for the school year 2020–21 begin to be mailed.
Also, The CDE and CDSS will host an informational webinar about the P-EBT 2.0 rollout for 2020–21 on Thursday, June 10, 2021, from 2:00–3:30 PM.
Updates regarding P-EBT 2.0, including information about how P-EBT 2.0 will be implemented will be shared.
Will P-EBT Benefits be issued in Summer 2021?
Yes! The California P-EBT program has been extended through Summer 2021.
On April 26, 2021, the USDA also announced the availability of P-EBT benefits for Summer 2021.
Under this program extension, P-EBT benefits will be available to all children previously determined eligible for P-EBT during the 2020–21 school year.
Here’s who is eligible:
- Available to all children enrolled in the National School Lunch Program
- Includes Children under 6 years of age and residing in a SNAP household
This extension was part of the American Rescue Plan, signed into law on March 11, 2021.
When will P-EBT Benefits be issued in Summer 2021?
The CDSS and CDE will announce more details about Summer P-EBT benefits once the 2020–21 plan has been approved by the USDA.
We will provide an update here when an announcement is made, including when P-EBT cards will be mailed to newly eligible children.
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 for Summer 2021 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:
Restaurants that Take CalFresh in California
How to Apply for California P-EBT
California P-EBT Extension for 2020/2021
California P-EBT Balance (and how to activate the card)
Is GetCalFresh.org a scam or a legitimate website?