Starting this week, thousands of California families receiving certain public benefits began receiving additional money using the Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) card. This is an additional supplement to the EBT card that some low-income families regularly receive.
However, beginning May 22, any family with children who qualify for free food at their schools — regardless of immigration status — will be able to apply for the card, which has a credit of up to $ 365 and will be issued only once to buy foods.
Among the first to benefit was Betzabe Castillo, who has a 9-year-old son at a public school in Stockton, California.
"The card came to me (Thursday). I found out through the news, "he said.
She added that this help is important since she is not currently working and her husband is the only one in charge of providing for the household expenses.
"It is very difficult because the rent does not wait, since I pay $ 1,906 a month, neither do the bills (wait), we have been up to date and we only pay what we have on hand for the rent, either $ 500 or $ 700," Castillo said. .
Another person who already received the P-EBT was Berenice Burgos, who has two children, ages 9 and 4. She said that she did not know that the card would arrive but that help is welcome since she needs it for her family.
"Right now I am not working and my husband, who is a mechanic, had his hours cut," said the resident of Concord, a city in northern California.
"It is very good help especially for children to buy their milk, cereal and fruit because they want to be eating all day."
Help during school absence
Due to the coronavirus, children who are eligible for free or reduced price meals at school will receive additional benefits to buy food while school is closed, said the California Department of Social Services (DPSS) —the entity charged with overseeing the Program.
Jason Montiel, spokesman for CDSS, said the delivery of money cards will be in two phases. In the first are children who participate in some form of government aid such as the CalFresh program, Medi-Cal, or foster care.
"In the first phase, it is expected that around two million children will benefit from P-EBT cards," he explained.
"For this phase, the beneficiaries do not have to do anything and the card will be sent to them by mail."
Phase two begins on May 22. This is for those who do not receive CalFresh, Medi-Cal or Foster Care benefits. Individuals can submit an application at https://ca.p-ebt.org/ before June 30.
In this phase, 1.8 million additional children are expected to benefit, Montiel said. "Families will receive up to $ 365 in total benefits for each child who is eligible for P-EBT."
She added that help is available to all school-age children regardless of their immigration status or that of their parents.
"This does not affect whether children are collecting food in their schools like in the 'Grab and Go meals'," Montiel said.
Because the P-EBT card is an emergency disaster benefit — like other similar programs — based on eligibility for free and reduced-rate school meals, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) established that they would not be considered public charge .
However, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services may consider several factors under its public charge test and those who have doubts should seek advice.
In addition, the CDSS warned that people should be careful with scams.
Since the P-EBT cards began to be sent, several people on social networks commented having received calls from people posing as DPSS representatives, who ask for personal information to supposedly send the card.
"The Department of Social Services (CDSS) will not contact clients or ask for personal information," said Montiel. "We will not request a Social Security Number or any document that is shared with us."
For more details information visit: https://ca.p-ebt.org/es/info
To apply before June 30, visit: https://ca.p-ebt.org/
If you have specific questions regarding public charge and DPSS visit: https://covid19.ca.gov/img/wp/listos_covid_19_immigrant_guidance_en_daf.pdf