Food Stamps

North Carolina Food Stamp Program

North Carolina food stamps are an important resource for low-income adults and children who struggle to afford nutritious groceries each month. Oftentimes, families in financial distress will skimp on the types of food and how much of it they buy in an effort to save money. This can lead to poor health and, in severe cases, even hunger. This food assistance program, which is officially called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), aims to lessen these issues across the country. Throughout the state, the program is also referred to as Food and Nutrition Services (FNS). However, these three financial assistance program names are interchangeable.

While SNAP in North Carolina is part of the federal food stamps program, the state government is in charge of managing this initiative for residents on a daily basis. The Division of Social Services (DSS), which is a branch of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), manages statewide program operations. As a result, SNAP food stamps beneficiaries frequently interact with case workers and officials from this department of the state government. This is especially true whenever petitioners apply for SNAP or when enrollees attempt to access their benefits. The sections below provide information regarding how to navigate the food stamps program, supplying candidates with an overview of the application process and information relating to program denials and recertification procedures.

What are food stamps in North Carolina?

SNAP food benefits in North Carolina are available to claimants via the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. With this device, claimants can begin using their program benefits at participating food retailers and grocery stores. SNAP allows enrollees to use their food stamps benefits to buy all kinds of foods and beverages, ranging from fresh fruits and vegetables to meat and seafood. Claimants can also use their benefits to purchase chips, cookies and soda. However, petitioners must remember that they may not use their SNAP benefits in NC to purchase the following items:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Tobacco products
  • Household goods
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Pet food
  • Vitamins
  • Hot, premade meals

North Carolina Food Stamps Requirements

There are four primary food stamps requirements in North Carolina that petitioners must meet in order to collect SNAP benefits. These prerequisites include:

  • Income: Since SNAP is available only for low-income households, there are requirements for food stamps that relate specifically to how much income petitioners earn. Claimants need to earn less than a certain amount of income, and these limits are assigned based on household size.
  • Household structure: Generally, food stamps are awarded to households as units. Therefore, petitioners need to qualify as a household according to the state’s definition. Examples of acceptable structures include roommates who live and cook together, parents and their children and married couples.
  • Immigration status: Food stamps eligibility requirements indicate that applicants must be U.S. citizens or petitioners born abroad that possess legal immigration statuses.
  • Funds and resources: While not a requirement for all petitioners, some candidates will need to fulfill resource requirements for the state. Claimants who need to meet this prerequisite may not have quantifiable resources that total greater than $2,250. However, households with at least one disabled family member or household member who is older than 60 years of age may have up to $3,500 in resources and still qualify for benefits.

How to Apply for Food Stamps in North Carolina

Petitioners wondering how to apply for food stamps in North Carolina need to know that there are three main ways they can submit their materials. These methods include:

  • Downloading a SNAP application and mailing it to the state.
  • Filing an online food stamps application.
  • Applying in person at the county DSS office.

Preparing for the North Carolina Food Stamps Interview

Generally, completing a North Carolina food stamps interview is required for petitioners who would like to enroll in SNAP. The DSS insists that claimants participate in these conversations because it provides the candidates with opportunities to prove that they qualify for benefits. As a result, many petitioners want to know, “What do you need for the food stamps interview?” While each petitioner may need to provide different information to the division, claimants should generally consider bringing copies of documents that validate their:

  • Household earnings.
  • Immigration statuses.
  • Identity and Social Security Numbers (SSN).
  • North Carolina residency.
  • Recurring expenses.
  • Monetary assets.

How to Use the North Carolina EBT Card

Once claimants are accepted into the SNAP program, they will likely want to know, “How long does it take to get a North Carolina EBT card?” The DSS issues these cards to claimants as soon as it determines that petitioners are eligible to receive benefits and calculates the amount of funds they qualify for. Once enrollees have their North Carolina EBT card, they must create personal identification numbers (PINs) before they may begin using these cards. With these PIN numbers, claimants can swipe their cards at point of sale (POS) machines and electronically use their benefits.

When beneficiaries are ready to begin using their NC EBT card, they may go to approved grocery stores and farmer’s markets and spend their funds. Furthermore, these cards work like credit or debit cards, so petitioners who already have these devices should be familiar with using their EBT cards before they even make a purchase. Once claimants make their purchases, their remaining EBT card balance will appear at the bottom of their receipts. This helps enrollees to keep track of the benefits they have remaining in their accounts. Likewise, candidates can check their available totals by calling customer service or by logging into their online EBT account portals.

How to Appeal a North Carolina Food Stamps Denial

When the DSS issues a North Carolina food stamps denial to petitioners, it is not always the definitive ruling on cases. Claimants have the right to request appeals, and if the applicants have convincing cases, they may be able to have these decisions overturned. Petitioners who learn that their food stamps application was denied must file their appeal requests with the state. To help facilitate this process, there is an official form that claimants may use to ensure they supply the DSS with all the necessary information.

Candidates may initiate the food stamps appeal process in NC by submitting their finalized requests to their county DSS offices. Within these documents, claimants must provide the following information:

  • General information: Throughout the first portion of their requests, claimants must supply the division with biographical information. This includes the petitioner’s name, date of birth, SSN and address.
  • Translation requests: Petitioners who are not native English speakers may still appeal their food assistance denials. The state offers free interpreter services to claimants who would like to utilize this option.
  • Copy of state-issued determination: If possible, applicants should provide the DSS with copies of the DSS denial notifications they received.
  • Reason for denial: Candidates need to report the reasons the state cited for denying the applicants’ petitions.

How to Renew Your Food Stamps in North Carolina

Claimants who would like to file a NC food stamps renewal application have the opportunity to complete this task toward the end of their present enrollment periods. The DSS will send beneficiaries SNAP Notices of Expiration, and these documents contains specific information relating the due dates for petitioners’ renewal requests. Oftentimes, enrollees may renew food stamps online or by filing paper applications with the state. Regardless of how beneficiaries choose to reapply, they must be sure to submit their materials during the month before their present claims are set to expire.

After petitioners submit their food stamps renewal application to the DSS, they have the chance to request division interviews. However, this step is not a requirement for recertification applications. In any case, claimants need to be sure that all of the information they are providing in their petitions is current and accurate. Therefore, applicants should ensure that the DSS has updated information regarding their:

  • Family members.
  • Household income.
  • Resources and expenses.
  • Address and immigration status.

Once candidates turn in their SNAP renewal requests, the division will review the applicants’ materials. Then, if the DSS approves the claimants to continue receiving SNAP funds, it will notify the petitioners. Generally, recertification cases are approved for a total of 36 months.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What income do you need to have in order to be eligible for food stamps in North Carolina?

Below is a list of the maximum allowable monthly income as it relates to the number of members in your household while applying for food stamps in North Carolina.
1 $1,276
2 $1,726
3 $2,177
4 $2,628
5 $3,078
6 $3,529
7 $3,980
8 $4,430
9 $4,881
10 $5,332
11 $5,783
12 $5,234
13 $6,685
14 $7,136
15 $7,587
16 $8,038
17 $8,489
18 $8,940
19 $9,39
20 $9,842

What is ePASS?

In North Carolina, residents can use the ePASS system in order to apply for benefits and services provided by the state. You can access the ePASS system by going to epass.nc.gov.

Are their any other requirements besides the minimum income in order to qualify for food stamps?

Yes. There are general program requirements to keep in mind before applying for food stamps which includes being a resident of North Carolina. You must also have a current bank account balance under $2,001 or under $3,001 if you share your household with a person age 60 or over, or person with a disability.

Is there a way to contact the food stamp office directly?

CARE-LINE Information and Referral Service: 1-800-662-7030.
In Raleigh, North Carolina or outside of the state, call: 919-855-4400.
Hearing impaired callers can dial the TTY line:1-877-452-2514.

Helpful Links : You can visit the North Carolina food stamp website here.