RALEIGH — Next week, North Carolina’s youngest children who are eligible for food assistance benefits will begin to receive extra monthly benefits tied to the COVID-19 pandemic for the 2021-2022 school year. North Carolina is among the first states in the nation to receive approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a 2021-2022 Child Care Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer food assistance program.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services will issue the first round of Child Care P-EBT benefits next week for nearly 220,000 children who were eligible during September and October 2021. These benefits will continue to be issued monthly through August 2022, covering food needs for children who were eligible from September 2021 to May 2022. Children are eligible if they were 5 years old or younger as of Sept. 1, 2021 and participated in Food and Nutrition Services.
“The P-EBT program helps to ensure our youngest children have access to nutritious food that is essential to their growth, development and well-being,” said NCDHHS Chief Deputy Secretary Susan Gale Perry. “These extra benefits will help families increase their food budgets and protect the health and well-being of young children.”
Families do not need to take action to receive these additional benefits, and there is no application for this program. Families can expect to receive benefits on their existing FNS EBT cards. In addition, they can review whether their children are eligible for this program by using the online eligibility flowchart (Spanish version). Families are also encouraged to ensure their mailing addresses are up to date with their local county department of social services to receive notices.
Additional rounds of benefits will be issued monthly through August 2022. Children eligible for Child Care P-EBT will receive a monthly benefit amount set by NCDHHS using USDA guidelines. All eligible children statewide will receive the same amount; however, this amount may change monthly. The benefit amount for each Child Care P-EBT issuance and the schedule will be posted on the P-EBT website.
North Carolina was one of the first states to launch P-EBT for children in K-12 schools and child care settings early in the pandemic. To date, this federally funded program has provided more than $1.76 billion in groceries to more than 1.36 million children at risk of hunger because of decreased school and child care center attendance due to pandemic-related circumstances.
For more information on P-EBT, visit the updated P-EBT website and NCDHHS’s P-EBT Frequently Asked Questions.
North Carolinians interested in applying for FNS benefits may apply online here or through your local county department of social services.