Pandemic Electronic Benefits (P-EBT) provides a benefit on an EBT card to North Carolina families whose children have access to free and reduced lunch at school. The P-EBT program is a collaboration between the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and is intended to help families during school closures.
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All families with one or more children in their household who normally have access to free and reduced lunch at school are eligible for P-EBT benefits. Due to school closures caused by COVID-19 pandemic, these households are now eligible to receive a benefit on an EBT card to help them buy food for their children.
Students over 18 will receive P-EBT benefits if they are enrolled in school and would have normally had access to free or reduced lunch.
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is utilizing data from the Department of Public Instruction for free and reduced lunch only. Eligibility will be determined based on the enrollment of a child in that program. Any child that receives free/reduced lunch qualifies. There are no other filtered criteria.
There is no application for P-EBT benefits. P-EBT eligibility information comes from the Department of Public Instruction based off enrollment in free and reduced-price meals. Families should contact their local schools for more information about eligibility for free and reduced-price meals.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is working with the Department of Public Instruction to work through how these will be reported and possibilities for inclusion for P-EBT benefits.
There are two categories of ways people will receive benefits:
P-EBT benefits will be staggered when released to take into consideration supply chain needs and other Food and Nutrition (FNS) benefits. We expect the 2nd issuance to happen the first two weeks of June, 2020.
For those families not actively receiving Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) benefits, North Carolina DHHS will send the P-EBT card to the address provided by the Department of Public Instruction as indicated in the child’s school record.
There are two categories of ways people will receive benefits and thus the answer varies:
It should be noted that undeliverable cards will be returned to the EBT vendor. Counties will receive a report of the undeliverable cards and someone will attempt to contact the family to get their card to them. These attempts will be made via the phone number on file for the child(ren) in the Department of Public Instruction’s records, or through collaboration with your local school if the phone number on file is not correct.
Families will receive approximately $371 in total P-EBT benefits per child, provided over two installments.
The first allotment accounts for closed school days in March and April 2020. The second allotment accounts for closed school days, May 1 – June 12th, 2020.
Families will receive approximately $371in total P-EBT benefits per child, provided over two installments. Unused benefits will rollover month-to-month and must be used within 365 days.
Currently, benefits are calculated based on school closures through June 12th, 2020.
Families should destroy the P-EBT card. If they change their mind, they may call the EBT call center at 1-888-622-7328 to request a replacement card at any time prior to the expiration of the benefits. Counties should document the client does not wish to participate and was instructed to destroy the P-EBT card on the P-EBT Log.
Families receiving a P-EBT card will need to create a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to activate the card. Applicants may log into www.ebtEdge.com, utilize the ebtEDGE mobile app, or call 1-888-622-7328 to complete this process.
The family will be asked to enter the date of birth of the youngest school age child receiving free or reduced dlunch in the household prior to creating the PIN.
For example: The household consists of 2 school age children; one is 13 years old (DOB: 04/04/2007) and one is 15 years old (DOB: 01/01/2005) and both receive free or reduced lunch through school. To create the PIN, the family would enter the date of birth for the 13 year-old (04042007). The user will then be prompted to create a unique PIN.
Note: If there are multiple children in your household it may be necessary to try each child’s date of birth to successfully activate your P-EBT card.
If your children receive free and reduced lunch through an NC charter school that participates in the national free and reduced lunch program, they should receive P-EBT benefits
P-EBT is only for children that participate in the national free and reduced lunch program. Eligibility is pulled from the Department of Public Instruction records from that program.
No. Only schools participating in the federal free and reduced lunch program are included in the P-EBT program. Eligibility is pulled from the Department of Public Instruction records from that program.
Head Start programs are not included, however it should be noted that some Pre-Ks are. If the Pre-K is in a grade school participating in the federal free and reduced lunch program and those children in the Pre-K are included in that program, those children will be eligible and receive P-EBT benefits. As well, P-EBT is only for those children eligible for free or reduced-price meals under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, which is separate from the USDA Child Nutrition Program-CACFP.
No. The information generated from the Department of Public Instruction is from the 2019-2020 school year. The child must be enrolled in a participating school during that school year to be considered eligible for P-EBT benefits. Families may contact their local school for enrollment options and eligibility for free or reduced lunch.
The Department of Health and Human Services will utilize data contained in the Department of Public Instruction file to confirm sibling sets and consolidate “household” records as much as possible. Children in the same household should be issued on one card in the Head of Household’s name as indicated in the information sent from the Department of Public Instruction.
Exception: Foster children in congregate care will have the same address, however they will not be linked as a household and would receive individual cards There also may be instances with siblings in the same household that do not consolidate correctly via DPI data. In these cases, households may receive individual cards.
Yes, these students will receive P-EBT. These are Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) schools and the students are eligible to receive P-EBT benefits. These schools are part of the amended National School Lunch Program.
All children, under age 18, who normally has access to free and reduced lunch at school are eligible for P-EBT benefits. This includes children in foster care as reported by their school. The P-EBT card for children in foster care will go to the address as reported within the child’s school record.
Foster children in congregate care will have the same address, however they will not be linked as a household and would receive individual cards.
No. The Notice for P-EBT has examples of items that can and cannot be purchased with the P-EBT card.
The Grocery Retailers Association is aware of the process for P-EBT and have been informed of the card design as well as benefit projections. By federal statute, retailers cannot ask for ID for EBT purchases if they do not request ID on regular debit card purchases.
No. P-EBT benefits are in addition to other services and benefits families may be participating in currently. We encourage families to continue utilizing local school and community meal sites for free, nutritious meals for children. Families can text FOODNC to 877-877 to find local meal sites. The service is also available in Spanish by texting COMIDA to 877-877.
The USDA has indicated that the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is the authority for administering P-EBT benefits. While there is collaboration to streamline eligibility with the Department of Public Instruction, the USDA has indicated schools should not be administering P-EBT benefits.
There is no cost to the recipient as the P-EBT benefit is entirely federally funded. The State does not provide any of the cost of P-EBT benefits but does incur some modest costs to operationalize the program.
No. Families who receive P-EBT benefits will not have to pay back the benefits.
North Carolinians can call 2-1-1 or 888-892-1162, 24 hours a day to speak to an NC 211 call specialist. NC 211 has up-to-date resources and information to help people through these difficult times. NC 211 will link callers to resources such as food pantries and distributions, state government resources, mental health and healthcare assistance, general information on COVID 19, and current information on closures and government notices. Calls to 211 are free and confidential and the service is available in most languages. The NC 211 resource database can also be searched on-line at www.nc211.org.