NC extends P-EBT food assistance benefits through summer

Published 1:43 pm Wednesday, June 2, 2021

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The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services today announced North Carolina has been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture  to continue the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) food assistance program through Summer 2021. The P-EBT program helps families with eligible children whose access to free or reduced-price meals at school or other food assistance has been impacted by COVID-19. Summer P-EBT is an extension of benefits for the 2020-2021 school year.

The extension of P-EBT through Summer 2021 will provide approximately $450 million in food assistance to an estimated 1.2 million children and families in North Carolina for the summer period.

“Having nutritious meals year-round is critical to young children’s development and well-being,” said NCDHHS Chief Deputy Secretary for Opportunity and Well-Being Susan Gale Perry. “The extension of P-EBT food assistance through the summer will help our young children and families who are still experiencing the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic get the food they need while school is out.”

Eligible children will receive a one-time payment of $375 to cover the entire summer period of June through August 2021. Benefits for students and children who are eligible as of May 2021 will be issued by the end of July to their current P-EBT or FNS card. Students and children who become newly eligible over the summer will receive benefits in late September. Households should keep their current P-EBT card so they can continue to receive benefits for the summer.

Students will be eligible to receive summer P-EBT in July if the student was eligible for free or reduced price meals at school through the National School Lunch Program or was enrolled in a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) school as of the last full month of the school year (May 2021). Children under 6 will be eligible to receive summer P-EBT in July if they received Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) in May 2021.

Students or children who become newly eligible for FNS or free or reduced-price meals any time from June 1 to Aug. 31 will be eligible to receive the summer P-EBT benefit issued in September. Eligible students participating in summer learning programs at school will still be eligible to receive full summer P-EBT.

P-EBT is administered by NCDHHS in partnership with the NC Department of Public Instruction. For more information on how to apply for free or reduced-price meals for students, please contact your child’s local school district. To see if your household may be eligible to receive FNS benefits, please visit