Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) Program

About P-EBT

Jump to: Child Care P-EBT | Student P-EBT | Previous Years P-EBT

(Updated May 6, 2022)

Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) is a food assistance program that helps families with children who are unable to access free or reduced-price meals at school or child care centers when they are not physically present because of COVID-19. Benefits are provided on a debit-like P-EBT card or Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) EBT card and can be used to buy food at stores that accept EBT.

P-EBT is issued through a collaboration between the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and the NC Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) and is approved by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

P-EBT FAQs   Versión en Español
Food and Nutrition Services   Wellness Resources 

Update May 12, 2021: North Carolina has received federal approval to continue Child Care P-EBT (previously called P-EBT for “Children Under 6”) for this school year. Children 5 years old and younger (as of Sept. 1, 2021) who are included in an active FNS case can expect to receive the Child Care P-EBT benefits on their existing FNS EBT card. Young children who are part of the Student P-EBT population cannot receive Child Care P-EBT benefits.

P-EBT Scam Advisory

Do not provide any personal information if you receive links, messages, calls, or emails asking for your information. Remember - NEVER share Social Security numbers, bank information, EBT and/or P-EBT card numbers, or personal identification numbers with people you don’t know. Personal information should only be provided when you directly contact a state agency. If you receive any unsolicited communications asking you to provide personal information, do not respond and immediately delete the message.

Child Care P-EBT

2021-22 School Year Benefits for Children

Is My Child Eligible?

View the full Child Care Eligibility Notice (Spanish).

There is no application for P-EBT. To be eligible for benefits, a child must be 5 years old or younger (as of September 1, 2021) and be included in an active FNS case. Eligibility will be rechecked each month.

Important: If a child’s FNS case closes, Child Care P-EBT benefits will end with the month of case closure. If a child turns 6 years old during the school year, they may continue to receive P-EBT so long as they are still included in an active FNS case and not in school and identified in the Student P-EBT population. 

A statewide benefit amount will be issued each month based on guidance from USDA. All eligible children across the state will receive the same amount. However, the amount will likely change with each issuance. 

Households with children 5 years old and younger who submitted an FNS application or added an eligible child to their FNS case after September 2021 but before May 2022 will receive these benefits beginning the month of approval.

Benefit Schedule and Amount

Benefit Month(s) Issuance Month (2022) Benefit Amount
September and October 2021 May September = $35.50
October = $35.50
November and December 2021 June November = TBD
December = TBD
January and February 2022 July January = TBD
February = TBD
March, April and May 2022 August

March = TBD
April = TBD
May = TBD

Student P-EBT

2021-22 School Year Benefits for Students

Is My Student Eligible?

View the full Student Eligibility Notice (Spanish).

P-EBT benefits will be issued for the 21-22 school year under new program rules. This year, eligibility and benefit amount is based on the individual student’s attendance record. To be eligible for benefits, the student must experience one or more days in quarantine or temporary virtual instruction and students will only receive benefits for days when they had these COVID-19 related absences from school. Eligibility and benefit amount will be rechecked each month.

  • Quarantine (attendance code: 1D) refers to when the school tells the student to stay home because of COVID-19 related symptoms, illness, or exposure or parent/guardian informs the school about a student's COVID-19 related symptoms, illness, or exposure and the school approves the absence. 
  • Temporary virtual instruction (attendance code: 1R for present off-site) refers to when the student is enrolled in a physical school but is in virtual or remote learning for a temporary period because of COVID-19. Students can be in temporary virtual instruction if they are enrolled in a physical school.   

Your child’s school will determine if their absence is related to COVID-19 and will record that in their attendance record. Contact your child’s school if you have questions about your child’s attendance record.

Reminder: Students must attend a school that participates in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and be approved for the free or reduced-price meal program to be considered for P-EBT. If your child attends a school that participates in the NSLP and you want to apply for free or reduced-price meals for this school year, please contact your child’s school. Check if your child’s school is participating for the 2021-22 school year.

Student P-EBT FAQs

View all FAQs

Benefits Information for Previous Years

2020-21 School Year Benefits for Students and Children Under Age 6

For information on the 2020-2021 P-EBT program that is now over, please review the “P-EBT School Year 2020-21 Information” webpage.

Summer 2021 P-EBT

All summer benefits for SY 20-21 have been issued to eligible households. More information is available on the “Summer 2021 P-EBT Information” webpage. North Carolina is awaiting guidance from USDA regarding the possibility of P-EBT for Summer 2021-22. This webpage will be updated as information becomes available.