How to Apply for SNAP in North Carolina?

This information is current as of March 26, 2022.

Are you a North Carolina resident looking to buy nutritious food? Are you also are part of a low-income household? If so, the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) in N.C. may be able to help.

Applying for SNAP in North Carolina can take as little as 30 minutes. First, you’ll need to meet eligibility requirements, have your I.D. ready, and apply online or by mail. Then, you’ll participate in a short interview that could be in-person, by telephone, or via video. After this, you’ll find out if you qualify as well as the SNAP benefits amount.

This article will further break down how to apply for SNAP in North Carolina, including the eligibility requirements and how you can get help filling out your application.

What You Need to Apply for SNAP in N.C.

The SNAP program in N.C. is officially called North Carolina Food and Nutrition Services (FNS). You may apply if you are a U.S. citizen or lawfully admitted non-citizen. You must live in North Carolina to be eligible.

You’ll need to have a reasonable estimate of your overall income during the application process. This includes all money you receive during the year and your assets from any source.

Income includes money coming in from jobs, alimony, child support, scholarships, money from friends and family, disability, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, unemployment, veterans’ benefits, and more. You’ll also need to list any organizations or agencies that help you pay any of your bills.

Assets can include checking and savings accounts, retirement funds, stocks, lottery winnings, etc.

You should also have a government I.D. ready to present and your household members’ Social Security numbers.

Applications are processed the fastest online, so you’ll need a device with internet access (tablet, laptop, or computer) for this route. Otherwise, you can complete a paper copy in a local Department of Social Services office (DSS) or send it in via mail.

SNAP Eligibility in North Carolina

Those who want to apply for SNAP in N.C. must fall under certain income limits. These limits are either a gross income limit of 130% or 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. An employee at your local DSS will determine which limit you fall under. This will depend on your household size, and it will be calculated using the DSS-1700 form.

For specifics on the income limits for both categories, see the chart under “Maximum Monthly Income and Allotment Table” here.

Who Is in My Household?

When listing “your household” on your application, you may not know who to include. Essentially, your household is all people who purchase, prepare and eat meals together. This includes spouses, children under age 22, and co-parents (unmarried) who live in the same home.

N.C. SNAP Application Process

You can apply for N.C. SNAP online, in person, or via mail. After submitting your application, you will wait to receive news about your upcoming interview. The head of household usually applies for benefits, but they can also designate an authorized representative.

For interpreter services, please call 866-719-0141. Those with disabilities or in need of communication services can also call that same number.

Online Application

The online application works through ePASS, a secure government service that allows you to apply for and manage your SNAP N.C. benefits online.

You will need to click “Apply for benefits.” This will take you to a page where you will either log in or sign up for a new account. Follow the prompts and complete your application once you have your account.

Spanish speakers who need assistance with the online application can learn about ePASS in Spanish.

Apply in Person

Sometimes people benefit from having an official government employee help with filling out an application. If that’s your case, head to your local DSS office and ask to apply for SNAP. Your office may or may not require an appointment, so call before going there.

If you have access to a printer, try to fill out as much of the application as possible before appearing at the office, as this will significantly speed up the process.

Apply by Mail

You’ll need to complete the application, and either mail it in or drop it off at your local DSS office for those who prefer to apply by mail.

Be sure to complete the application neatly and in ink, signing wherever necessary.

The SNAP Application Interview

Once your application has been completed, received, and reviewed, you’ll be contacted for an interview. The interview will be done with the applicant or the designated representative.

This interview can be done in person, via phone, or video conference. Sometimes, you may be asked to complete your interview if you drop off the application at the DSS office.

How Much SNAP Assistance Will I Get?

SNAP benefits are distributed monthly and automatically onto Electronic Benefits Transfer cards (EBT). This card is used as a debit card to purchase food products from any USDA authorized retailer, including most major grocery stores. You will need to set up a PIN for the card before using it for the first time.

There is a maximum amount of assistance given monthly, depending on how many people are in your household. The maximum allotments are the following:

  • 1 person: $234
  • 2 people: $430
  • 3 people: $616
  • 4 people: $782
  • 5 people: $929
  • 6 people: $1,114
  • 7 people: $1,232
  • 8 people: 1,408
  • For each additional person, add $176

Note that these are maximum allotments, so it’s possible to receive less, even if you meet the household size requirement. This is determined during your application’s review.

What Can I Buy With an EBT Card?

Once you receive your benefits, you can purchase meat products, fruits, vegetables, bread, cereal, seeds, and plants with your EBT card. Some retailers even allow you to have food ordered online and delivered to your house.

EBT cards won’t cover household goods, alcoholic beverages, or tobacco. However, if you purchase a mix of EBT-approved and non-approved items, you can pay for SNAP products with your EBT card by inputting your PIN. Then, pay for the remaining items with another form of payment.

If you receive N.C SNAP benefits, your SNAP food is lost due to a power outage or flood from a local tropical storm. N.C. will offer a Replacement/Supplement Request form so you can replace those items. 

Alternative Nutritional Assistance in N.C.

Apart from SNAP, plenty of state agencies and nonprofit organizations work to provide food assistance to those in need. Fourteen major USDA and FSN programs are available and form part of the State Nutrition Action Coalition. You can also find a copy of this list in Spanish.

Further resources can also be found on NC211 and NCCARE360 sites.

Food Assistance for Children

  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
  • The Emergency Food Assistance Programs
  • Child and Adult Care Food Program
  • School Meals: National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, After School Snack Program
  • Summer Nutrition Programs
  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
  • WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program

Food Assistance for Ages 18-60

  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
  • The Emergency Food Assistance Programs
  • Senior Nutrition Program

Food Assistance for Those 60+

  • Commodity Supplemental Food Program
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
  • Senior Nutrition Program
  • The Emergency Food Assistance Programs
  • Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program

Food Assistance for Pregnant, Breastfeeding, and Postpartum Women

  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
  • WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program

SNAP for N.C. Families

Buying nutritious meals can be difficult when other bills and financial pressures take the spotlight. The SNAP program offered by North Carolina Food and Nutrition Services helps low-income families and individuals receive benefits to purchase healthy foods every month.

To apply for SNAP in North Carolina, you’ll need to have a clear idea of your income and assets for the previous year. The application will also ask you to list everyone in your household, including their Social Security numbers.

Once you have all this information, you’ll be able to fill out an application online, in person, or via mail. Then, after a short interview, a DSS employee will determine if you qualify for SNAP benefits.

Once you receive these benefits, you’ll be able to use your EBT card to make food purchases at many of your local supermarkets. In addition, the card will be automatically reloaded every month, taking one big worry off your plate.

Additional Assistance

If you qualify for SNAP in N.C., you may also be eligible for low-income housing or free internet. Check out our blog for more information on additional assistance that may be helpful.

Save Money on Your Wireless Phone Service

If you qualify for government benefit programs like SNAP, you also qualify for Lifeline service or the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Both Lifeline and ACP are government-run programs that help low-income consumers receive free or deeply discounted communication services.

Click here to find out more and apply for this valuable benefit.