Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) Program

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Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) was a temporary program that gave food assistance benefits to eligible families during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The benefits were given on an EBT card, which works like a debit card. You can use it to buy food at stores that accept EBT cards.

P-EBT Has Ended in NC

The P-EBT program has permanently ended. Any unspent benefits can still be used to purchase food. Families who are eligible for FNS will continue to receive those benefits.

More Food Resources

If you need more support:

How can we help you with P-EBT?

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You have 274 days from the date of receipt to spend your benefits. You do not have to spend the benefits all at once. Learn how to use your card and what you can buy.

No, you will not have to pay back P-EBT benefits. P-EBT is federally funded, and there is no cost to the recipient.

You can easily check your card balance in four ways:

Option 1:

To check your balance using, log into your account. Your current balance and a list of previous transactions will show on the screen.

Your ebtEdge Cardholder Portal account will show if there are benefits posted and/or pending and when those benefits will be available for use. If your food benefit amount is listed under “Pending Items,” this means that you will not be able to spend them until the date listed below the pending deposit.

Option 2: ebtEDGE mobile app (available on iPhone and Android)

  1. Download the ebtEDGE mobile app from the App Store or Google Play Store. Look for the icon below to make sure you have the correct app.
  2. Enable location services when prompted to do so. This helps find nearby stores that accept EBT.
  3. Log into your account. If it is your first time logging in, you will be prompted to register.
  4. The current balance and a list of previous transactions will show on the screen.

Option 3: SMS text messages

Checking your balance by text message (SMS) is easy. Your cell phone number will need to be linked to the account. Follow these instructions to link your cell phone number. You will need your cell phone, P-EBT or FNS EBT card number and PIN.

  1. Log into your account on and select a card from the Welcome page. 
  2. Select “Messaging Registration” on the “Account Services” section of the Account Summary page.
  3. Add your cell phone number with area code and click “SMS Balance” and “Text Alerts.”
  4. Click on the “Save” button, and a confirmation message will appear.
  5. Once you have linked your cell phone number and the account, you can check your account through text at any time.
    • To check your balance, text BAL to 42265.
    • To check your last five transactions, text MINI to 42265.
    • To stop receiving these text messages, text STOP to 42265.

Please note: If you have to request a new card, it will come pre-registered with SMS, and you do not need to repeat these steps.

Option 4: EBT Call Center IVR

To check your card balance through the automated phone system of the EBT Call Center, call 1-888-622-7328 and follow the automated instructions. Please have your card number readily available. Note: Wait times can be long, so online or mobile options may be the fastest.

Card skimming and cloning are on the rise. If your P-EBT benefits are stolen, they cannot be replaced because of federal rules.

This is different than FNS benefits, which have a process for replacing stolen FNS benefits.

The foster care caseworker will make sure the P-EBT card goes with the foster child when they change placements. Contact the foster child’s caseworker if you have more questions about this process or need to have a P-EBT card transferred between placements.

Latest Updates

Aug. 30, 2023

April 13, 2023

  • Summer P-EBT benefits will be available only for students who attended traditional in-person schools this year AND who received free or reduced-price school meals. Qualified students will receive a one-time summer payment of $120. After this summer, the P-EBT program will end permanently.

March 16, 2023

  • The first P-EBT issuance for students begins today. This issuance covers COVID-19 related absences from September through January. Issuances for children 5 years old and younger will begin at the end of March.

Feb. 28, 2023

  • P-EBT benefits will continue for the 2022-23 school year and until the federal Public Health Emergency ends on May 11, 2023.

Jan. 27, 2023

  • P-EBT benefits will continue for the 2022-23 school year and until the federal Public Health Emergency ends on May 11, 2023. We'll announce details as soon as we can including detailed eligibility requirements so please bookmark this page and come back to learn more.