"Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19), children who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals at school will get extra food benefits. These food benefits are called Pandemic EBT or P-EBT benefits. P-EBT benefits help families in California buy food when schools are closed because of the coronavirus emergency.
Families will get up to $365 per eligible child on their P-EBT card to use on food and groceries.
Families with children who get CalFresh, Medi-Cal or Foster Care benefits do not need to apply. Most will get their P-EBT card in the mail during the month of May. P-EBT cards will begin arriving around May 12, 2020.
Families with children who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals and who do not get their P-EBT card in the mail by about May 22, 2020 must apply online before June 30, 2020. The online application will be available beginning May 22, 2020 at ca.p-ebt.org."
Because the card looks different than a standard CalFresh EBT card, some families who have not received benefits before might not recognize its value and discard it. So the image is being circulated widely. A week ago I was asked to give a 60-second update at a disaster relief conference call. I mentioned that P-EBT was coming as food assistance. A TV reporter reached out, and he produced the video segment linked below.
Many have voiced concerns about where P-EBT falls within public charge rules for immigrants. According to the National Immigrant Law Center and from a USDA Official, P-EBT is not a Public Charge. Here is a description as to why that is the case from Tanya Broder at NILC (sharing with her permission): The simple answer is that it’s a school lunch/breakfast replacement program, for families who lost access to those meals due to the school closures under the pandemic. It is not listed as a public benefit in the public charge rules, and therefore would not need to be reported as a public benefit received by a family. It is available to SNAP and non-SNAP households. Even if it were a SNAP benefit, it would be considered disaster assistance which similarly is not relevant in a public charge determination. The preamble of the public charge rule states: “Response: D–SNAP and other emergency disaster relief assistance programs are not included in the rule. DHS also notes that, as provided in the NPRM, not all cash assistance would qualify as cash assistance for income maintenance under the proposed rule. For instance, DHS would not consider Stafford Act disaster assistance, including financial assistance provided to individuals and households under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Individuals and Households Program, 42 U.S.C. 5174, as cash assistance for income maintenance. The same would hold true for comparable disaster assistance provided by State, local, or tribal governments.” 84 Fed. Reg. 41382.
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