P-EBT Hits $2 Billion

The pandemic brought many changes in North Carolina, including how parents feed their children. The Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer Program (P-EBT) was created, and now more than $2 billion has been distributed to North Carolina families since 2020. 

Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) is a food assistance program that has helped families with children who are unable to access free or reduced-price meals at school or childcare centers that closed their doors because of COVID-19. Benefits are provided on a debit-like card, or Food and Nutrition Services EBT card, and can be used to buy food at stores.

Dividends are issued through a collaboration between the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and the state Department of Public Instruction. The program is approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

Recently, the state issued $391 to households at the end of July, bringing the total to $2.16 billion in distributions.  

“For some kids, summer vacation means wondering where their next meal will come from,” said NCDHHS Secretary Kody H. Kinsley. “Children need healthy food to grow and learn, and we will continue to do everything we can to support this effort as part of the NCDHHS priority to improve child and family well-being.” 

Students who received free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) in May 2022 are eligible for the P-EBT program. 

“Summer P-EBT benefits and the NSLP are such important ways we can continue our mission of supporting the growth and development of North Carolina’s students,” said Catherine Truitt, N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction. “We know that improving student performance and outcomes requires mobilization of student support services, and I’m thrilled that we are able to continue providing this assistance to children and their families.” 

Eligible children can still receive Summer P-EBT if they apply for free or reduced-price school meals by Aug. 31 through their school district. Families who already receive Food and Nutrition Services can find their additional benefits on their existing EBT card.   

 For more information about P-EBT and how to become eligible, go to ncdhhs.gov/PEBT. Families can check their eligibility for Summer P-EBT using the new P-EBT eligibility quiz on the P-EBT website.

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