SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Hundreds of thousands of California children eligible for free food benefits still have not applied - and the deadline is July 15.
The state program provides a one-time payment of up to $365 per child. It is known as "P-EBT" which stands for Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer.
The benefits are open to all children who are eligible for free or reduced-priced school meals.
The families of 3.4 million California children have already applied or received payments automatically according to the California Department of Social Services. Another 400,000 children are still eligible, but time for them to apply is running out.
The department already extended the deadline once and has been so overwhelmed with applications its website says there is a delay in processing "due to the high volume of people who need help during the pandemic."
The state expects to give out $1.4 billion through the program.
The P-EBT benefit cards can be used to buy food only and are accepted at most grocery stores and farmer's markets.
Applications must be submitted online by July 15, 2020 here.
California's EBT customer service center phone line is (877) 328-9677. It is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Help is available in multiple languages.