CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Health officials say eligible K-12 students in North Carolina will continue to receive food assistance through the 2021-22 school year thanks to an extension of the P-EBT food assistance program.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced on Thursday it received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to continue the Student Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) food assistance program through 2022 under new rules.
Health officials say North Carolina is still awaiting approval for Child Care P-EBT and cannot currently issue benefits to this group.
Early in the pandemic, officials say North Carolina was one of the first states to launch the P-EBT food assistance program for students at risk of hunger due to school closures.
The federally funded program has since provided more than $1.7 billion of groceries to more than 1.3 million children at risk, according to a news release.
Health officials say under the new rules for the food assistance program, students will only get P-EBT benefits for eligible days.
Officials say with most students back in school and receiving meals in-person, many households will not be eligible for the P-EBT this year and will only receive a small amount of assistance when a student experiences a COVID-19 related absence.
Like last year, officials say there is no application for P-EBT.
Students are eligible for the program if they are approved for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and their attendance record reflects they were not in school due to a COVID-19 related absence.
Click here for more on eligibility and benefits.
Health officials say North Carolina plans on issuing benefits to eligible students by the end of January 2022.