Special to Iredell Free News
RALEIGH — The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, in partnership with the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, announced the expansion of the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program to provide benefits to eligible children under the age of 6 who are in households receiving Food and Nutrition Services (FNS). This expansion will provide benefits to families with young children and infants who need extra help buying food. The state will begin issuing P-EBT benefits to eligible children under the age of 6 starting this week.
The P-EBT program helps families with children who are receiving FNS benefits and whose access to meals or buying food has been impacted by COVID-19. The program provides a benefit on an EBT card that can be used to buy food at authorized retailers, including most major grocery stores. P-EBT is a program authorized and funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“Food insecurity for families has increased significantly during the pandemic. This program is one way that we can support young children and their families who have been particularly hard hit,” said NCDHHS Chief Deputy Secretary for Opportunity and Well-Being Susan Gale Perry. “Having access to nutritious meals is vital to young children’s healthy development and well-being.”
There is no application process to receive P-EBT benefits for children under age 6. Eligibility will be determined through circumstances of the child and the public schools in the county where the child lives.
The benefit amounts for children under 6 are the same as for school-aged children, and the amount a child receives will be based on the learning mode of public schools in the school district(s) of the county where the child lives. If one or more public schools in the county of residence is in a fully remote learning mode (100% virtual instruction) for the month, the eligible child will receive a benefit of $115.94 for that month. If no public schools in the county are operating fully remote, but one or more schools are operating in a hybrid learning mode for the month, the child will receive a smaller benefit amount.
Households with eligible children under 6 who receive FNS will receive their P-EBT benefits on their existing FNS EBT card. P-EBT benefits received in May will be for the months of October 2020 through March 2021. Following the initial issuance, P-EBT benefits will be a monthly allotment that will be issued each month.
Since March 2020, NCDHHS in partnership with NCDPI has issued more than $1 billion in benefits to the families of more than 1 million children. Through this expansion of P-EBT, NCDHHS anticipates issuing an additional $120 million in P-EBT benefits to families of eligible children under the age of 6 who are receiving FNS benefits.
If someone has lost or destroyed their EBT card, they can order a new card at www.ebtedge.com, on the EBT Edge mobile app or by contacting the North Carolina EBT Call Center at 1-866-719-0141. More information about the P-EBT program can be found at www.ncdhhs.gov/PEBT.
Those who are not currently receiving FNS benefits and believe they may be eligible, visit NCDHHS: Food and Nutrition Services Food Stamps to learn more information about income eligibility and how to apply. Families who apply for FNS and meet the eligibility criteria can receive P-EBT benefits back to the date of eligibility.