Food and Nutrition Services
What is Food and Nutrition Services?
The Food and Nutrition Services Program in North Carolina (FNS), formerly known as food stamps, can help eligible, low-income individuals and families supplement household resources to buy the food they need. FNS assistance can be used at most grocery stores and some farmers’ markets.
Am I Eligible?
To receive Food & Nutrition Services (FNS), your household must meet income limits. Your county Department of Social Services (DSS) office will tell you which income limits your household must meet. Income limits are updated every year. If your income was too high in the past, you might be able to get FNS now.
North Carolina no longer uses the resource limit test for most households. Your DSS office will tell you if your household has to meet a resource limit test. You may be able to get FNS even if you own a home, car, land, property, or have a retirement plan or money in the bank.
What FNS can do for me and my family?
- Food & Nutrition Services (FNS) can help you buy more food each month and lets you choose what foods you buy.
- FNS frees up money that can be used for other items, such as utilities and medicine.
- You can use FNS to buy local fruits and vegetables at a growing number of farmers’ markets. Before you go to the farmers’ market, it's a good idea to call and ask if they take EBT cards. If the market does not, ask them to start.
How Can I Apply?
Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC can assist you in applying for FNS. Get help here.
Follow these steps:
- Complete an application.
Pick up an application at your local Department of Social Services (DSS) office (find your county’s DSS office) or call your local DSS office and ask them to mail you an application.
If you need help filling out the application, let someone at the DSS office know. If you can’t fill out the whole application, fill out your name, address and signature on the first page.
- Return the application to your county’s DSS office.
You can return the application by mail, fax, in person or by an authorized representative. An authorized representative is someone you know and trust to help you. You or your authorized representative can complete the application and return it to the DSS office. The sooner the DSS office gets your application, the sooner you will know if you are eligible to get benefits.
- Talk with a FNS caseworker.
A Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) caseworker must interview you to see if you can get benefits. If you cannot go to the DSS office, call and ask if you can talk to a caseworker by phone. You can also send an authorized representative to the interview.
At the interview, you will need to show the FNS caseworker:
- Proof of who you are, such as driver’s license, social security cards, or alien papers
- Proof of your address, such as mortgage statement or rental agreement
- Proof of any child care costs
- Proof of what you pay for child support
- Proof of money you got in the past 30 days, such as check stubs or a letter from the social security office
If you can’t bring everything, go to the interview anyway. The caseworker will help you get what you need.