SACRAMENTO, Calif. — CalFresh and the California Department of Human Services will begin mailing out ‘Pandemic EBT’ cards to families who qualify for free or reduced school meals through CalFresh, CalWORKS, Medi-Cal or Foster Care benefits, which will include additional benefits to help families buy food.
CalFresh announced back in April that those who rely on food assistance could now use their EBT cards to make food purchases online through Amazon and Walmart.
“This new functionality will help ensure that Californians, particularly those that are most vulnerable and with the most need, have access to healthy food while staying home and staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said California Department of Social Services (CDSS) Director Kim Johnson. “We will continue to work with our federal partners to bring additional retailers on board as quickly as possible.”
In March, the CDHS requested a waiver from the federal government to allow EBT card holders to purchase groceries online. The department also said children who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals at school will get extra food benefits.
Families will get up to $365 per eligible child on their P-EBT card to use on food and groceries.
The waiver was approved, contingent upon working initially with existing federally approved retailers, Amazon and Walmart.
CalFresh food benefits bolster household budgets, allowing individuals and families to afford nutritious food, including more fruit and vegetables.
It is the nation’s largest nutrition assistance program and provides more than 4 million Californians with food benefits each month.
In addition, CalFresh is available to older adults and people with disabilities who receive Supplemental Security Income.
There are three ways to apply for CalFresh:
- Apply here.
- Call (877) 847-3663
- Locate your local county office.
- We encourage Californians to apply online or by phone at this time.
“With schools currently closed throughout California, many students have lost access to meals they normally receive on campus,” said CDSS Director Kim Johnson. “These additional food benefits will help families put food on the table during this time of great need.”