How to Apply for Food Stamp Benefits (FNS) in North Carolina

Answers About the NC Food and Nutrition Services Programs

Applying for food stamp benefits in North Carolina
••• Flickr/SocialAlex

North Carolina' Food and Nutrition Services program (commonly called "food stamps") is designed for low income families, and intended to end hunger and improve nutrition and health. The programs helps low income families and individuals purchase the food they need to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and makes sure that nobody in the state goes hungry.

Funds are issued via an Electronic Benefit Transfer cards (EBT cards), as paper checks are no longer mailed out.

Here's how to apply for food stamp benefits in North Carolina, along with some frequently asked questions.


The North Carolina Department of Social Services has a food stamps eligibility test here. Once you find out that you are indeed eligible, here's a list of things you'll need to apply for food stamp benefits in North Carolina. That list includes identity, your address, your age, Social Security number, work status, health status, income, assets and resources and your gas and electric bills. Once you have everything lined up, fill out this form (you can also get one in person), and turn it in to your county's social services office or click here to begin the application process online. Here's the information for Mecklenburg County:

Wallace H. Kuralt Centre
301 Billingsley Rd.
Charlotte, NC 28211
(704) 336-3000

Who can receive North Carolina food stamp benefits?

Here's what qualifies as a "household" as far as the NC DSS is concerned:

  • Individuals living together who purchase and or prepare their food together or will do so upon receipt of food assistance
  • Spouses who are living together or individuals that represent themselves as husband and wife to the community
  • Individuals under the age of 22 who are still living with a parent
  • Individuals under the age of 18 who are under the parental control of an adult living in the home; or
  • Two unmarried adults who are living in the same home and who are parents of a mutual child

Please note that every single member of a household must be a United States citizen or an eligible immigrant to receive food stamps assistance.

How much can I receive in food stamp benefits in North Carolina?
The amount that you can receive is calculated based on your overall household income. This means everyone that works in your house, family or not. Here's a chart to help figure the amount that you can/will receive. Funds are issued to an "EBT" card that functions just like a debit card.

What is the income limit to receive food stamp benefits in North Carolina?
The general rule is that a household must be considered "low income" to receive benefits. For a household with four members, the limit is usually about $2,500 per month. Also, your liquid resources (cash, checking and savings accounts) can't be more than a limit of about $2,000. These amounts are higher if your household has a disabled person, or an elderly person over 60.

What can I purchase with food stamps in North Carolina?
Most food items are covered, but you can't purchase alcohol, tobacco, paper products, soap or pet food.

How soon can I receive benefits?
Some individuals will qualify for emergency assistance and receive benefits within 7 days of applying.

By law, you will either receive your benefits or notice that you're not eligible within 30 days of application.