RIVERSIDE COUNTY – Social services officials are encouraging qualified Riverside County households with children to apply for a one-time Pandemic-EBT food benefit before the application period closes Wednesday, July 15.
Children who were receiving free or reduced-price school lunches when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March are eligible for the payment of up to $365. The amount a household receives will be determined by its number of qualified children. Students can still get grab and go meals at their local schools and community locations, officials said.
“Ensuring our local children have adequate, healthy food during this time of unprecedented economic hardship is a communitywide priority,” Allison Gonzalez, program director of self-sufficiency at the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services, said. “Families have a lot to worry about right now besides where their children’s next meal is coming from. This Pandemic-EBT program helps.”
The California Department of Social Services has issued benefits to more than 3.1 million eligible children since Pandemic-EBT relief was announced in May. The state recently extended the application window to reach more households. Officials say as many as 3.8 million children in California are eligible, including 130,000 children and youth in Riverside County.
Applications must be made online at https://ca.p-ebt.org. Beginning in early June, approved applicants were mailed one P-EBT card per child. Households that need assistance with PIN setup, an address change or more can request help securely online at https://inquiry.pebt.dss.ca.gov.
The P-EBT is a disaster emergency benefit that the Department of Homeland Security has confirmed will not be considered for public charge purposes. Children are the recipients of P-EBT, so it won’t be considered as a benefit received by their parents.
A P-EBT card acts like a debit card. To activate the card, recipients must set up a PIN by calling 877-328-9677. Listen to the entire recording, follow the directions and select Option 4 to activate the card. The card can be used up to a year to buy groceries where EBT cards are accepted.
Submitted by Riverside County Department of Public Social Services.