P-EBT Frequently Asked Questions Updated July 26, 2021 P-EBT is a collaboration between the NC Department of Health and Human Services and the NC Department of Public Instruction. Review the frequently asked questions (FAQs) below for more information about who is eligible and how families will receive the benefit during the 2020-21 school year. Return to P-EBT Main Page About Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) Program What is P-EBT? (Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer) P-EBT provides food assistance benefits on a debit-like Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card to North Carolina families with eligible children whose access to meals has been impacted by COVID-19.The P-EBT benefits will be electronically placed on the EBT card and can be used to purchase food items at EBT authorized food or grocery retailers, including most major grocery stores. Do households / families need to apply for P-EBT? There is no application for P-EBT benefits. Information from schools and DHHS is used to determine those who may be eligible for P-EBT benefits. For student P-EBT, students must be eligible for free and reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program. For P-EBT for children under 6 years old, children must be receiving Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) benefits. If you would like more information on how to apply for free or reduced-price meals at participating schools, please contact your child’s school system. Visit the Food and Nutrition Services webpage for more information on how to apply for FNS. Eligibility for Summer P-EBT Will there be P-EBT in Summer 2021? North Carolina DHHS (NCDHHS) was approved to continue P-EBT through Summer 2021. NCDHHS intends to issue a standard benefit amount for eligible students and for eligible children under 6. Keep your current card so you can continue to receive benefits through the summer. Who is eligible for Summer 2021 P-EBT? Summer P-EBT is an extension of school year 2020-21 benefits. Eligibility requirements for summer P-EBT are different than the requirements for the school year and are based on guidelines set by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Since P-EBT will be simplified for the summer, learning mode and school attendance will not affect eligibility or the amount a child will receive. Students Eligibility will be determined based on student circumstances as of the last full month of the 2020-21 school year (May 2021) and through free or reduced-price meal approval during the summer period. To be eligible for summer P-EBT, a student must meet one of the following criteria: The student was eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program or attended a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) school (schools with all students eligible for free or reduced-price meals) as of May 2021, OR The student becomes eligible for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program at any time during the covered summer period (June 1 – August 31); this includes free or reduced-price meal eligibility determined by direct certification with Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) eligibility Eligible students who have graduated at the end of the school year will receive summer P-EBT benefits. Students who apply for free or reduced-price meals in the summer prior to August 31, 2021 and are approved will be eligible to receive the full summer benefit. For more information on how to apply for free or reduced-price meals, please contact your child’s local school district. Students who become eligible for FNS over the summer may be directly certified to automatically receive free or reduced-price meal eligibility. Visit the National School Lunch Program website for more information. Children Under 6 To be eligible for summer P-EBT, a child under the age of 6 that does not already receive P-EBT as a student must meet one of the following criteria: The child was eligible to receive Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) as of May 2021, OR The child becomes eligible for FNS at any time during the covered summer period (June 1 – August 31) Visit the Food and Nutrition Services webpage to see if your household may be eligible to receive FNS benefits. Can my child participate in a summer learning program at school and still receive summer P-EBT? Enrollment in a school summer learning program will not affect summer P-EBT benefit eligibility or benefit amount. Students participating in in-person summer learning programs at school will be eligible to receive the full summer P-EBT benefit as long as they meet the summer P-EBT eligibility requirements. Eligibility for Student P-EBT My child did not receive P-EBT but I think they should have received it. What should I do? Benefits are issued to students that meet all criteria established by the USDA’s eligibility requirements. Benefit amounts are issued per student learning circumstance based on school data. Please refer to the eligibility criteria to see if your child meets the criteria. If you believe your child is eligible and you have an FNS card, check to see if the benefits have been issued to that card. If you believe your child is eligible and have not received benefits, please contact the EBT Call Center at 1-866-719-0141. Please note that benefit issuance will be staggered over several days each month, so please allow adequate time for the benefits to be loaded onto your card. Is eligibility and benefit amount determined per student or per household? Will all my school-aged children receive the same amount? Eligibility for P-EBT is determined for each student. If a household has two eligible students that are attending two different schools, the students may receive different benefit amounts. The amount an eligible student receives is based on whether they are eligible for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program or Food and Nutrition Services. Will children enrolled in homeschool, charter schools, private schools or other non-public schools receive P-EBT? Are all schools, counties, and / or school districts eligible to receive P-EBT? If your charter, private or non-public school student or home-schooled student is enrolled in a school that participates in the National School Lunch Program, they may be eligible for P-EBT benefits. If your child does not already receive free or reduced-price meals, it would be necessary to complete a household application for free or reduced-price meals through your child’s school to determine eligibility. If a charter, private or non-public school students or home-schooled students are not enrolled in a school that participates in the National School Lunch Program, they are not eligible for P-EBT benefits. This eligibility requirement for P-EBT is based on federal guidance provided by the US Department of Agriculture. Find out if your school participated in the National School Lunch Program or was a CEP school for the 2020-21 school year. Eligibility for P-EBT for Children Under Age 6 Will children enrolled in subsidized or other childcare receive P-EBT for children under age 6? Households with children in subsidized or other childcare that are not enrolled in FNS are not eligible to receive P-EBT. Families who apply for FNS and are approved for FNS will receive P-EBT benefits based on the first month of FNS eligibility. If you are not currently receiving FNS and believe your family may be eligible, please visit the Food and Nutrition Services webpage to learn more information and find out how to apply. If a child is under 6 years old, receives Food and Nutrition Services and is currently enrolled in school, will they receive student P-EBT or P-EBT for children under 6? If a child is a student under 6 years old that receives FNS and attends an eligible school, eligibility for student P-EBT will take precedence and eligibility and benefit amount will be determined under the requirements for student P-EBT. P-EBT Amount and When to Expect the Benefit Do I have to pay these benefits back? No. The P-EBT benefit is entirely federally funded and there is no cost to the recipient. Families receive the P-EBT benefit amount based on their child’s eligibility will not have to pay back the benefits. How much will I receive through P-EBT? How is the amount determined for P-EBT? Summer 2021 North Carolina will issue a one-time standard benefit amount payment of $375 per child for the entire summer period. The one-time standard benefit amount of $375 per child was set by USDA and is equal to the median number of weekdays in the sampled school districts multiplied by the daily P-EBT rate of $6.82. All eligible children will receive the same benefit amount regardless of their learning mode status at the end of the school year. In addition, all children that become eligible for P-EBT over the summer by applying and being approved for FNS or free or reduced-price meals will receive the same benefit amount regardless of when they are approved as long as the application is submitted prior to August 31. Could my child receive different amounts for different months? During the 2020-21 school year, children may receive different amounts per month and per child. However, the Summer 2021 benefit amount is a one-time benefit of $375 per child that is the same for all eligible students and children under age 6. How Households Will Receive the Benefits How and when will I receive P-EBT? How often will I receive P-EBT in 2021? Summer 2021 Children who are eligible as of the end of May 2021 will receive their one-time benefit for all summer months at the end of July or beginning of August because benefits will be staggered over 11 days. Students or children who become newly eligible for FNS or free or reduced-price meals any time from June 1 to August 31 will be eligible to receive the one-time benefit for all summer months in late September or in October. Benefits for the summer will be issued to the households current P-EBT or FNS EBT card. Families should keep their current card so they can continue to receive benefits through the summer. A new household that is receiving P-EBT for the first time in the summer can expect to receive a card in the mail 5-7 business days following the issuance of summer P-EBT. Households can request a new EBT card if theirs has been lost. If households have previously registered their EBT card online and created an account, they can request a card by logging on to the Cardholder Portal at www.ebtedge.com or through the ebtEDGE mobile application and click on“More Information” under EBT Cardholder. They can also contact the North Carolina EBT Call Center at 1-888-622-7328 and follow the prompts if they did not create an account. How will students in foster care and / or those who may be impacted by homelessness get P-EBT benefits? Children Under Age 6 Children under age 6 in foster care may be eligible for P-EBT. To be eligible for P-EBT, a foster child’s household must receive FNS and that foster child must be included in that household’s FNS case. If the child is not listed on the FNS case, they will not receive P-EBT. If you are interested in adding a child to your FNS case, please contact your local county DSS office. Please note that adding the child to your case may result in a change in the calculation of income on your specific FNS case. Students Children in foster care or impacted by homelessness who are eligible under the established criteria may receive P-EBT benefits. Students in foster care may be newly eligible for P-EBT or may have experienced placement changes since the last P-EBT issuance and no longer have their EBT card. For the first issuance of the 2020-21 school year, P-EBT cards will be mailed to the local county DSS office that has custody of the foster care student. The student's foster care social worker will provide the card or assist with transfer of the card to the student’s new placement with each placement change. P-EBT cards for homeless and migrant students will be mailed to the address on record for the student at the student’s school. Families are encouraged to confirm this address is correct with their child’s school. The address can be updated by contacting the EBT Call Center at 1-866-719-0141. If you already have an FNS or P-EBT card you can expect to receive P-EBT benefits on the card you already have. What if I receive a card with a name on it that is not the parent, guardian or student? Benefits are issued for the student’s benefit to the address provided by the school in which the student is enrolled. The P-EBT card may be issued in the parent or guardian’s name, or the student’s name. It is ok to proceed with using the card that was provided to you as long as the student(s) is in your care and you provide their meals. If you believe your benefits were incorrectly issued, please contact the North Carolina EBT Call Center at 1-866-719-0141. If you would like to update your address or contact information you may contact the EBT Call Center. My child has changed caregivers; how can they continue to receive the benefits? How will this affect eligibility? P-EBT is issued for the benefit of the child and the benefits should follow the child to the household where they live and receive meals. If the benefits for the child(ren) are on a P-EBT card, the card should follow the child(ren) to the new household. If a student or child has permanently switched from a household receiving FNS benefits to another household receiving FNS benefits OR to a household that does not receive FNS benefits, caregivers should do the following three things: Please report the change to your DSS case worker so the child can be removed from the prior FNS case. In addition, update the caregiver and address information with the child’s school so a new P-EBT card can be issued and mailed to the child’s new address. Please call the EBT Call Center at 1-866-719-0141 once the two activities above have been done and inform the call center representative that you are calling about a caregiver change and have already reported a change in FNS household and a caregiver and address change to the child’s school. If a student or child has permanently switched from a household that does not receive FNS benefits to another non-FNS household, please update the caregiver and mailing address at the child’s school so a new P-EBT card can be issued and mailed to the child’s new address. Once this is done, please call the EBT Call Center at 1-866-719-0141 and inform the call center representative that you are calling about a caregiver change and have already reported a caregiver and address change to the child’s school. Caregiver changes may affect eligibility and whether a child will receive or continue to receive P-EBT. For additional questions related to caregiver changes, please contact the EBT call center at 1-866-719-0141. How to Use the P-EBT Card How do I activate my P-EBT card and create a Personal Identification Number (PIN)? What date of birth (DOB) do I use in order to activate my card? Families receiving a P-EBT card will need to activate the card and create a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to use the card. Applicants may log into www.ebtedge.com, utilize the ebtEDGE mobile app, or call 1-888-622-7328 to complete this process. To create an online account or utilize the ebtEDGE mobile app, you will need to register with a valid email address. If you don’t have an email address, you can create an email address through Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, etc. You will need to enter your card number. To activate your card, you will be asked to enter the date of birth (DOB) associated with the card. Enter the DOB of the youngest student in the household that attends a school that participates in the National School Lunch Program. Enter the DOB as two digits for the month, two digits for the day and four digits for the year. For example, January 24, 2014 would be entered as 01242014. If there are multiple children in your household, it may be necessary to try each child’s DOB to successfully activate your P-EBT card. Once the card is activated you can create the PIN. Example: The household consists of 2 students; one is 13 years old (DOB: 04/04/2007) and one is 15 years old (DOB: 01/01/2005), and both are eligible for free or reduced-price meals at school. To activate the card, enter the date of birth for the 13-year-old (04042007). If the 13-year-old student’s DOB does not work, enter the 15-year-old student’s DOB. The user will then be prompted to create a unique PIN. To change your PIN, call the toll-free number on the back of your EBT card. Follow the automated instructions to change the PIN. Assistance is available from a customer service representative 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you forget your PIN, you must call 1-888-622-7328 to get a new PIN. What can I buy with my P-EBT benefits? Is there an ID requirement in order to use the card? The P-EBT card can be used to purchase food items at EBT authorized retailers, including most major grocery stores. Similar to FNS benefits, hot foods or foods that are already prepared cannot be purchased with your P-EBT benefits. Examples of items you CAN buy with a P-EBT card: Breads, cereals, fruits, vegetables Meats, fish, poultry and dairy products Bottled water and non-alcoholic beverages Seeds and plants that produce food Examples of items you CANNOT buy with a P-EBT card: Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco Any nonfood items, such as: pet foods, soaps, household supplies and vitamins and medicines Hot foods or foods that are already prepared Remember to check your balance before you shop. There are several ways to check card balances 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Using your card number, you can: Call 1-888-622-7328. Visit www.ebtedge.com. Click on More Information under EBT Cardholders. Download the ebtEDGE mobile app. The app is available as a free download on the Apple Store and Google Play. The Grocery Retailers Association is aware of the process for P-EBT and has been informed of the card design as well as benefit issuance projections. By federal statute, retailers cannot ask for ID for EBT purchases if they do not request ID on regular debit card purchases. How long do I have to use the benefits? P-EBT benefits must be used within 365 days from issuance. You do not have to use all your benefits at one time and any unused benefits will roll over month-to-month. How do I change the address if it is incorrect or if I have moved? P-EBT letters of eligibility and P-EBT cards for newly eligible students will be sent to the address on record at the student’s school. Families are encouraged to confirm this address is correct with their child’s school. The address can be updated by contacting the EBT Call Center at 1-866-719-0141. Families that received P-EBT previously and still have their P-EBT card, should have access to the benefits on that card. Families who no longer have their P-EBT card and need a new card can call 1-888-622-7328. Please confirm the mailing address when ordering a new card. Other Information What if I do not want P-EBT benefits? If families do not wish to receive P-EBT benefits for their children, they 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 (365 days after the benefits are issued). Does the legal and/or immigration status of the child affect eligibility for P-EBT? Any child that meets eligibility requirements as identified above will be eligible for P-EBT, regardless of their legal or immigration status. Receiving P-EBT food assistance does not impact your immigration status and will not impact a future immigration application you may file. Does P-EBT replace other COVID-19 supplements, other Food and Nutrition Service benefits, or meals children may be receiving at schools/community meal sites at this time? No. P-EBT food assistance is in addition to other benefits children and families may be receiving. Receiving P-EBT will not disqualify you or your child from accessing additional food such as meals from school (grab-and-go meals for curb-side pick-up or placing an order for meal bundles for 3, 5 or 7 days, etc.). Many schools are providing meals to children age 18 and under as part of the State’s emergency public health nutrition response during the pandemic. The meals available at various schools are intended to provide a food and nutrition safety net to help prevent food insecurity and child hunger. You are encouraged to contact your child’s school to learn how you may access additional food for your children, including those who are not enrolled in school. If my child does not qualify to receive P-EBT benefits, what other food assistance resources are available to me? If you would like information on where to access nearby meal sites for children who are 18 and under, you can also text FOODNC to 877-877 for English and COMIDA to 877-877 for Spanish. In addition, No Kid Hungry NC has created a map of local school sites, community organizations and food assistance programs across North Carolina where families can access food for their children. The interactive map can be viewed at nokidhungrync.org/covid19/. Visit the Family & Community COVID-19 Resources page to learn of additional food resources that are available. You can also visit the 2-1-1 United Way North Carolina website by visiting https://nc211.org/ or dial 2-1-1 or 1-888-892-1162 to speak with someone who can tell you about resources in your area. Please note that 2-1-1 cannot assist with eligibility or benefit amount. Will P-EBT be available for the 2021-22 school year? North Carolina is awaiting guidance from United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on if P-EBT will be extended for the 2021-22 school year to students and children under 6 and what requirements must be met. The P-EBT website will continue to be updated with additional information as it becomes available.