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Julio Morales
Sunday, October 04, 2020

IMPORTANT UPDATE ABOUT Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT)

We have been notified by NCDHHS of a brief extension of P-EBT benefits. Under the new federal guidelines, many families that received P-EBT benefits in the spring may not be eligible to receive benefits this fall. Under USDA’s new guidance and September 30 deadline, DHHS provided P-EBT benefits to as many children as possible, with the wish they could have helped every family in need. More than 600,000 students will qualify for the fall P-EBT program compared to the more than 900,000 who qualified in the spring.

Children are eligible for the fall P-EBT program if they meet these criteria:
• Received P-EBT benefits last school year (2019-2020); or have been Directly Certified for free meal benefits for the current school year (2020-2021); or attends a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) School for the current school year (2020-2021); and

• Their school district or charter school is approved to participate in the National School Lunch Program during the 2020 – 20201 school year; and,

• Their school district or charter school utilized virtual learning for all students for at least five consecutive school days between August 17th and September 30th.

This is different than the eligibility criteria for P-EBT benefits in the spring, which was available to all children who normally access free or reduced-priced meals, regardless of school circumstance. The new eligibility criteria are based on guidance from the US Department of Agriculture.

We are reaching out because the fall P-EBT program has rolled out rapidly and households are beginning to receive benefits on their EBT cards. We wanted you to be aware of the following important points:

1. Fall 2020 eligibility is different than spring eligibility.

2. Eligibility requirements are established by federal regulations.

3. Funds are already being loaded onto existing cards.

4. P-EBT eligible districts are asked to share NCDHHS information (attached) with families through local communication channels.

5. NCDPI encourages non-eligible districts to communicate with families how parents, guardians, or designees of students opting to participate in remote learning can pick-up or preorder meals that are provided to students receiving face-to-face instruction.

6. Eligible families with questions about their P-EBT card should call the NC EBT Call Center at 1-866-719-0141.

The NC DHHS issued this message concerning the issuance of “fall” P-EBT benefits to NC households: "Our priority has been and continues to be to provide P-EBT benefits to as many eligible children as we possibly can to ensure that the maximum number of families who need this help receive it. The NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) issued benefits to every child for whom who it could confirm eligibility per new rules from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

For the fall P-EBT program, USDA required that states only provide benefits to students who participated in five or more consecutive days of virtual learning and who would normally have access to free or reduced priced meals at school. Further, USDA required that all benefits be issued by September 30th.

NCDHHS worked with the NC Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to obtain data confirming eligibility. Unfortunately, within the tight timeline, data on the remote learning plans of individual students was not available, which would be necessary to serve children in districts where some but not all children are doing remote learning for five or more consecutive days. Given these eligibility and deadline limitations, our understanding is that North Carolina is one of only about one-third of states providing any P-EBT benefits at all for August and September.

Should families and other stakeholders have questions, please refer them to the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Call Center at 1-866-719-0141. Please review the additional supporting documents at the end of this post for more information and details.

(Informacion en Espanol - Information in Spanish)

Ayer el Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos de Carolina del Norte (NCDHHS) anunció que proporcionará beneficios adicionales a través del programa de Transferencia Electrónica de Beneficios durante la Pandemia (P-EBT, por sus siglas en inglés), destinado a ayudar a las familias a comprar alimentos para aquellos niños que este otoño vieron afectado su acceso a comidas gratuitas o a precio reducido en las escuelas debido al aprendizaje remoto a causa de la COVID-19. El programa proporciona beneficios en una tarjeta EBT que puede utilizarse para comprar alimentos a los distribuidores autorizados, incluyendo la mayoría de los supermercados más importantes.

Este otoño, los niños serán elegibles para participar en el programa P-EBT si tuvieron acceso a comidas gratuitas o a precios reducidos en la escuela durante el año pasado, si su distrito escolar o escuela autónoma (chárter) es elegible para proporcionar comidas gratuitas o a precio reducido en la escuela durante este año, y si su distrito escolar o escuela autónoma (chárter) utilizó aprendizaje remoto para todos los estudiantes durante al menos cinco días escolares consecutivos entre el 17 de agosto y el 30 de septiembre.

Esto es diferente de los criterios de elegibilidad para los beneficios del programa P-EBT en la primavera, el cual estuvo disponible para todos los niños que acceden normalmente a comidas gratuitas o a precios reducidos, independientemente de las circunstancias de las escuelas. Los nuevos criterios de elegibilidad están basados en los requerimientos del Departamento de Agricultura de los Estados Unidos. Para saber si un distrito escolar o una escuela autónoma (chárter) está recibiendo los beneficios P-EBT para el otoño, ingrese en este vinculo

Las familias no necesitan aplicar para recibir el beneficio P-EBT. Las familias elegibles que ya reciben beneficios del Servicio de Alimentos y Nutrición (FNS, por sus siglas en inglés) recibirán un beneficio adicional en su tarjeta EBT existente. Las familias que recibieron beneficios P-EBT en la primavera y que son elegibles bajo los nuevos criterios, recibirán beneficios adicionales en su tarjeta P-EBT original. Se enviará una tarjeta por correo a las familias elegibles que no cuenten con una tarjeta FNS o P-EBT. Las familias a las que se les enviará la nueva tarjeta por correo recibirán dicha tarjeta dentro de las próximas dos o tres semanas.

Puede encontrar más información sobre el programa P-EBT en:, y aquí en la lista de preguntas frequentes.



P-EBT Frequently Asked Questions:

Eligible School Districts:

English Brochure Page 1:

English Brochure Page 2:

Panfleto en Espanol Pagina 1:

Panfleto en Espanol Pagina 2:

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