RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – When schools went virtual, 600,000 North Carolina students lost access to school-based meals.
Parents of some students attending school virtually can now expect the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to provide more help to feed school children.
NCDHHS said the funds through the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer, P-EBT would be available to students who qualified for free and reduced-price meals at school. The funds are meant to make up for meals missed as a result of the pandemic and remote learning.
Qualifying families should receive a letter this week informing them about their eligibility for P-EBT. Payments should be expected within the next two or three weeks.
NCDHHS said the funds will roll over month-to-month but they must be used within a year.
All three of the following criteria must be met to qualify for these funds.
- Had access to free or reduced-priced meals at school last year
- School district or charter school is eligible to provide free or reduce-priced meals at school this year
- School district or charter school utilized virtual learning for all students for at least five consecutive school days between August 17th and September 30th
While a student may have received funds in the spring, that does not mean they will qualify this time around. Requirements are much stricter for this round of disbursements.
P-EBT pays out $5.86 per virtual day per student. That totals out to up to $193.38 per child for this round of benefits if the student was enrolled in remote learning for all school days from Aug. 17 to Sept. 30. While the payments are not expected to come in for a few weeks after Sept. 30, families will be back paid for the time students spent in school.
NCDHHS said families do not need to apply for P-EBT benefits. Those already receiving Food and Nutrition Services benefits will have the money added on their existing EBT card. Those who received P-EBT this past Spring and are once again eligible will have the money added onto the P-EBT card money they received in the Spring. Families who do not have an FNS or P-EBT card should expect a new card to come in the mail by mid-October.
The state is consolidating siblings onto one card when possible.
There is no application process for these benefits. NCDHHS said eligibility is based on information from the Department of Public Instruction about enrollment in free and reduced-price meals programs.
If a household is already receiving food assistance benefits on an EBT card and did not have P-EBT benefits loaded on, NCDHHS recommended contacting the EBT call center at 1-888-622-7238.
For households who lost or threw away the P-EBT card they received in the Spring, you can visit ebtEDGE.com, the EBT Edge mobile app or you can call the NC EBT call center at 1-866-719-0141 to request a replacement card.
Click here for more information about P-EBT.
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