Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT)

About P-EBT:

  • 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, under the age of 18, would receive free and reduced lunch as part of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act at participating schools.
  • P-EBT benefits will be issued from Department of Public Instruction 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 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.
  • The new P-EBT program is in addition to other services families may be participating in.
    • As announced previously on March 30, 2020, all families that receive Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) will receive the maximum amount allowed for March and April 2020 for their household size.
    • Families are encouraged to continue utilizing feeding programs at 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.