First student P-EBT issuance scheduled for next week

Published 8:45 pm Thursday, January 6, 2022

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The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services today announced it will issue the first round of Student Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer benefits next week for students eligible between the months of September and November 2021.

North Carolina is still awaiting federal approval for Child Care P-EBT (formerly “Children Under 6”) and cannot issue benefits to this group until U.S. Department of Agriculture approval is received.

Eligible students will receive $7.10 for each day spent in a COVID-19 related quarantine and/or temporary virtual instruction. These absences will be recorded by the student’s school using special attendance codes. For more information, visit NCDHHS’s Frequently Asked Questions.

“Once again, North Carolina has moved with speed to issue P-EBT benefits to students impacted by COVID-19,” said NCDHHS Deputy Secretary for Employment, Inclusion and Economic Stability Tara Myers. “The state continues to work tirelessly to get benefits to students as quickly as possible.”

P-EBT is a federal program created in response to classroom closures due to COVID-19, which made it impossible for students to receive the free or reduced-price meals at school. Since schools have returned to in-person learning and students are now able to get their meals at school, many families will not get P-EBT this year or will get fewer benefits and only when a student has a COVID-19 related absence. There is no application for P-EBT, but students must be approved for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program AND be physically absent from school because of COVID-19.

Households that receive Food and Nutrition Services can expect to receive benefits on their existing FNS EBT card. In some circumstances, students who are a part of an FNS household may have a P-EBT card mailed to the address on record with the school if the student is eligible for P-EBT.

Households that do not receive FNS who previously received P-EBT can expect to receive benefits on their existing P-EBT card if the student is eligible for P-EBT.

Households newly eligible for P-EBT this year who do not receive FNS will be mailed a P-EBT card. It can take one to two weeks for the P-EBT card to arrive.

After this first issuance, North Carolina will issue benefits at the end of each month for students who were eligible for the prior month. Students eligible for P-EBT in December should expect to receive benefits by the end of January. January benefits will be issued to eligible students at the end of February, and so on.

The Student P-EBT program helps eligible K-12 students whose access to free or reduced-price meals at school has been impacted by COVID-19. The program provides benefits on a debit-like card that can be used to buy food at authorized retailers, including most major grocery stores.

Households with a student(s) who attends a NSLP school but are not approved for free or reduced-price meals for this school year can contact their school to apply for free or reduced-price meals.

Virtual schools and homeschools are not eligible to participate in the NSLP, therefore students attending these schools are not eligible to receive P-EBT. North Carolina cannot change this federal rule set by the USDA.