NCDHHS To Continue To Provide Extra Help Buying Food for Approximately 860,000 Children Through P-EBT | Eastern North Carolina Now

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services in partnership with NC Department of Public Instruction today announced it will begin issuing additional benefits on Feb. 19, 2021 through the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program.

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Press Release:

    RALEIGH     The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services in partnership with NC Department of Public Instruction today announced it will begin issuing additional benefits on Feb. 19, 2021 through the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program. These benefits will be received over several days starting Friday for those who already have an EBT card for Food and Nutrition Services or P-EBT benefits.

    The P-EBT program helps families purchase food for children whose access to free and reduced-price meals at school has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program provides a benefit on an EBT card that can be used to buy food at authorized food and grocery retailers, including most major grocery stores.

    "Having enough healthy food every day is an essential part of children's health and well-being," said NCDHHS Deputy Secretary for Human Services Tara Myers. "The P-EBT program provides families essential help buying groceries for children who would normally have access to free and reduced lunch at school."

    Families do not need to apply for P-EBT. Eligibility criteria are based on requirements from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A school-aged child is eligible if their school participates in the National School Lunch Program and the student is eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals during the 2020-21 school year. Also, the student's school must have been closed or has been operating with reduced attendance for at least five consecutive days during the 2020-2021 school year as a result of COVID-19. The student must also be learning in a fully remote (all virtual) and or in a hybrid (combination of virtual and in-person) learning mode during the month. An eligible student can receive one of two distinct benefit amounts depending on if they are identified as being in a remote learning mode or a hybrid learning mode.

    P-EBT benefits received in February 2021 will be for the months of August to December 2020 for those students who are eligible. Those who do not have a P-EBT card and are eligible during these months should anticipate receiving their cards in February or March. The total amount of P-EBT benefits put on a card will not be received at one time; benefits will be spread out over several days to avoid overwhelming those stores that accept EBT. P-EBT benefits will be issued retroactively in a monthly issuance starting in March as long as the child remains eligible.

    Eligible families already receiving FNS benefits can expect to receive the P-EBT benefit on their existing EBT card. Families who already have a P-EBT card from last school year and are eligible under the new criteria can expect to receive the benefit on their original P-EBT card. Eligible families who do not have an FNS or P-EBT card will be mailed a card.

    If someone has lost or destroyed their original P-EBT card, they can order a new card HERE, on the EBT Edge mobile app or by contacting the North Carolina EBT Call Center at 1-866-719-0141. P-EBT benefits are entirely federally funded. More information about the P-EBT program can be found HERE. For the latest information on COVID-19, visit HERE.

    Individuals with questions about applying for free or reduced-price meals should contact their children's school for more information.


  • NC Department of Health and Human Services
  • 2001 Mail Service Center
  • Raleigh, NC 27699-2001
  • Ph: (919) 855-4840
  • news@dhhs.nc.gov

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