All Tyrrell Schools students to receive food aid

Published 1:43 pm Wednesday, April 29, 2020

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By Brandy Basnight Mann

Tyrrell social services director

North Carolina has received approval from the USDA to begin a new Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) Program. This program will help families who have been impacted by school closings due to COVID-19 purchase food for their children.

The program provides benefits on an EBT card to North Carolina families whose children would receive free and reduced lunch as part of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act at participating schools.

Since ALL students enrolled in Tyrrell County Schools (TCS) receive free lunch, ALL families with a TCS student will receive P-EBT benefits, regardless of household income. Families with children attending schools other than TCS may be eligible for P-EBT if they are receiving free and reduced lunch, as described above.

P-EBT benefits will be issued from Department of Public Instruction (DPI) files for children enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program. There is no application process to receive P-EBT benefits.

P-EBT eligible families already receiving Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) benefits will receive an additional benefit on their existing EBT card.

P-EBT eligible families not already enrolled in FNS will be mailed an EBT card in the next few weeks. Families who receive an EBT card will first receive a letter from DHHS in the mail explaining how to activate and use their card.

Families who do not wish to use P-EBT benefits may destroy the P-EBT card when received. If the family changes their minds, the benefits will be available for 365 days and the family may call the call center to request a replacement card.

Tyrrell County DSS will be working closely with the schools when P-EBT Notices or P-EBT cards are deemed undeliverable.  If the information in the DPI files is incorrect, please contact the local school to correct the information for future reference.

Families will be able to use the P-EBT benefit to purchase food items at EBT authorized retailers, including most major grocery stores.

Families will receive a total of around $257 in P-EBT benefits per child, provided over two installments, with the possibility of an additional benefit if North Carolina schools are closed beyond May 15.

The first of these 2 installments will account for a higher percentage of the $257 per child, as it will cover the school closure days in March and April. The second will be lower as it will only cover May.

Benefits will be issued by DHHS using a random staggered approach, meaning households will not all receive benefits on the same day.  Expect to receive the first installment within the next 2-3 weeks and the second installment in June.  Do NOT panic if someone else receives their benefit before you.  DHHS is staggering issuance to prevent a strain on the food supply chain.  Tyrrell County DSS has no way of knowing when a client will receive their benefit.

Tyrrell County DSS continues to provide COVID-19 updates on the Tyrrell County website at under the COVID-19 tab.