Step-by-Step Guide: How to Apply for Food Stamps NC

In today’s world, food insecurity is a concern for many people and families in North Carolina. It’s a harsh reality for too many citizens, but fortunately, the state government offers a helping hand through the food stamp program. If you find yourself in a position where you’re struggling to put food on the table, then applying for food stamps in NC could be the solution to your problem. It’s an excellent program that provides financial assistance to help you purchase nutritious food for yourself and your family.

If this is your first time applying for food stamps, then there’s no need to stress out about it. The process is simple, and it starts with filling out an online application or visiting your local county Department of Social Services office. When filling out the application, be sure to answer all the questions truthfully and to the best of your knowledge. The information you provide will be used to determine your eligibility and how much assistance you’ll receive.

Furthermore, it’s important to keep in mind that you don’t have to be jobless to be eligible for food stamps. Many people who are employed full-time still find it difficult to make ends meet, and food stamps can help alleviate some of the financial burden. If you’re in need, there’s no shame in applying for assistance. The food stamp program is designed to help those who need it most, so if you’re struggling to put food on the table, then consider applying for food stamps in NC.

Eligibility requirements for food stamps in North Carolina

Food stamps, now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is a federal assistance program designed to provide low-income families with access to healthy food. In North Carolina, the program is administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Here are some of the eligibility requirements to receive food stamps in North Carolina.

  • Income: To qualify for food stamps, your gross monthly income before taxes must be at or below 130% of the federal poverty level. The federal poverty level varies by family size. For example, for a household of one, the poverty level is $1,342 per month, while for a household of four, it’s $2,744 per month.
  • Assets: Your household cannot have more than $2,250 in assets, such as cash or money in a bank account, to qualify for food stamps. However, some assets, such as a home and a car, are not counted as assets.
  • Residency: To receive food stamps in North Carolina, you must be a U.S. citizen or a legal resident and live in the state of North Carolina.
  • Work Requirements: If you are between the ages of 18 and 49 and do not have a dependent, you must work at least 20 hours per week to receive SNAP benefits. Exceptions apply for those who are pregnant, have a disability, or are caring for a child under the age of six.

It’s important to note that if you are receiving other forms of aid, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you may be automatically eligible for food stamps in North Carolina.

Overall, the eligibility requirements for food stamps in North Carolina aim to ensure that those who are most in need can access healthy food. If you meet these eligibility requirements, you can apply for food stamps online, by mail, or in person at a DHHS office.

How to find your local Department of Social Services office in NC

If you’re looking to apply for food stamps in NC, the first step is to find your local Department of Social Services (DSS) office. This is where you’ll fill out the application and provide any necessary documentation. Here’s how to find your local office:

Alternatively, you can call the NC Department of Social Services at 1-800-662-7030 and ask for the phone number or address of your local office.

It’s important to keep in mind that some counties have multiple DSS offices, so make sure you’re contacting the one that serves your area. You can always ask for clarification if you’re not sure which office to contact. Once you have the contact information for your local DSS office, you can call or visit them to begin the food stamps application process.


Once you have found your local Department of Social Services office, you’re one step closer to applying for food stamps in NC. Remember to bring any necessary documentation with you and be prepared to answer questions about your income, expenses, and household size. If you need help filling out the application or have any questions along the way, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local DSS office for assistance. They’re there to help you navigate the process and get the support you need.

CountyDSS Office AddressPhone Number
Alamance319 N. Graham Hopedale Rd. Burlington, NC 27217(336) 229-2903
Buncombe40 Coxe Ave. Asheville, NC 28801(828) 250-5500
Cumberland1225 Ramsey St. Fayetteville, NC 28301(910) 323-1540
Mecklenburg301 Billingsley Rd. Charlotte, NC 28211(704) 336-3000
Wake220 Swinburne St. Raleigh, NC 27610(919) 212-7000

Contact your local DSS office today to find out how you can apply for food stamps in NC and get the support you need to feed yourself and your family.

Documents Needed to Apply for Food Stamps in NC

Being eligible for food stamps in North Carolina is a great way to receive support if you need it. Generally, all applicants must provide basic information to determine their eligibility. However, there are specific documents that you will need to present to the Department of Social Services (DSS) before your application can be processed. Here are the documents needed to apply for food stamps in NC:

  • Identification documents – In order to receive food stamps, you must provide proof of your identity. This can be done by providing a valid driver’s license, state-issued ID card, birth certificate, passport, or other government-issued identification documents. These documents should have your name, date of birth, and photograph.
  • Residency verification – You must be a resident of North Carolina to qualify for food stamps. To verify your residency, you can provide your lease agreement, utility bills, or any official documentation that lists your current address.
  • Proof of income – Food stamps are primarily designed for low-income households, so it’s important to provide the DSS with proof of your income. This can include paycheck stubs, tax returns, bank statements, and any other documents that show the income of all members of your household.
  • Proof of expenses – It’s important to provide the DSS with proof of your monthly expenses, such as rent, mortgage payments, utility bills, and any other bills you may have. This helps them determine the amount of food stamps you’re eligible to receive.
  • Employment status documents – If you’re currently employed, you’ll need to provide documentation that shows your current employment status, including information about your employer, job title, and how much you’re earning.
  • Social Security Numbers – You’ll also need to provide the social security numbers for all members of your household who are applying for food stamps. This helps the DSS verify your eligibility and avoid any potential fraud.

Preparing for Your Application

In addition to the documents required to apply for food stamps in NC, it’s a good idea to come prepared with any additional questions you may have. When you arrive at the DSS office, be sure to ask for any available resources that may help streamline your application process. Additionally, be sure to double-check all the documents you have brought with you to ensure you have everything the DSS needs to process your application quickly and accurately.


Providing the required documents when applying for food stamps in NC is vital to ensure that your application is processed quickly and correctly. By bringing all the necessary paperwork and documentation to your appointment, you’ll be able to make the application process as smooth and efficient as possible.

Documents Required for Food Stamps in NC
Identification Documents
Residency Verification
Proof of Income
Proof of Expenses
Employment Status Documents
Social Security Numbers of All Household Members Applying for Food Stamps

By providing all these documents, you’re increasing your chances of getting approved for food stamps and receiving the support you need for yourself and your family.

How to Apply for Food Stamps Online in NC

North Carolina residents can apply for food stamps online through the NC Department of Health and Human Services website. This is a simple and convenient way to apply for assistance benefits, and it’s available to anyone who meets the eligibility requirements.

The steps to apply for food stamps online in NC are as follows:

  • Visit the NC Department of Health and Human Services website. Navigate to the “Apply For Services” page and select “Food and Nutrition Services (FNS)” from the list of programs.
  • Follow the instructions provided on the website to create an account and complete the application. You’ll need to provide detailed information about your household, income, and expenses.
  • Submit your application and any required documentation electronically through the website. The website will tell you what documents you need to submit, and you can upload these documents as PDFs or images.
  • Wait for a response from the DHHS. They will notify you by mail or through the website whether your application has been approved or denied. If approved, you’ll be issued an EBT card that you can use to purchase eligible food items at participating retailers.

Keep in mind that applying for food stamps online is not the only way to apply for assistance benefits in NC. You can also apply by mail, in person at a DHHS office, or by phone.

Eligibility Requirements for Food Stamps in NC

Before you apply for food stamps in North Carolina, it’s important to check whether you’re eligible for the program. The eligibility requirements are based on your income, household size, and other factors.

Here are some of the basic eligibility requirements for food stamps in NC:

  • Your household income must be at or below 130% of the federal poverty level. This means a maximum income of $1,383 per month for an individual, $1,868 for a couple, and $3,773 for a family of four.
  • You must be a US citizen or a qualified noncitizen. This typically includes lawful permanent residents, refugees, and asylees.
  • You must have a social security number or proof of application.
  • You must meet work requirements, unless you’re exempt.

If you’re unsure whether you meet the eligibility requirements for food stamps in NC, you can use the pre-screening tool available on the DHHS website to check your eligibility.


Applying for food stamps online in NC is a convenient and easy way to access assistance benefits. By following the steps outlined above and meeting the eligibility requirements, you can receive much-needed help with purchasing food and other necessities for you and your family.

ResourceContact Information
NC Department of Health and Human Services
NC Food and Nutrition Services (FNS)
Pre-Screening Tool for Food and Nutrition Services

Remember that the DHHS offers other assistance programs, such as Medicaid and childcare subsidies, that you may be eligible for as well. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them if you need help.

How to Apply for Food Stamps by Mail in NC

If you want to apply for food stamps in North Carolina, you should learn to do so online, in person, or through mail. In some cases, mailing in your application can be the most convenient option. Here are the steps you need to follow to apply for food stamps by mail in North Carolina.

  • Step 1: Get an Application Form
  • The first step you need to take is to obtain your NC food stamp application. You can get this form from the Department of Social Services (DSS) in your county of residence. If you don’t know the address of the DSS office in your county, you can go to the NC Department of Health and Human Services website and enter your zip code. You will be able to see the contact details of the DSS office available in your area.

  • Step 2: Fill out the Application Form
  • Once you have the application form in hand, take your time filling it out. Make sure that you provide all the required information accurately, including your name, social security number, contact information, and household details. You may be asked to provide more information about your income, assets, and expenses. Answer the questions as truthfully and completely as possible to prevent any delays or errors.

  • Step 3: Verify Your Identity
  • You must include a copy of a valid photo ID with your application. This can be your driver’s license, passport, or any other government-issued ID. If you don’t have a photo ID, you can include a birth certificate, a student ID, or another form of identification that confirms your name and age.

  • Step 4: Submit Your Application
  • Once you have filled out the form and included the necessary documents, you can mail your application to the DSS office in your county. Make sure you send your application by “certified mail, return receipt requested” to ensure that your application is received and the date of submission is documented.

  • Step 5: Wait for Confirmation and Follow-Up
  • After submitting your application, you will receive a confirmation receipt in the mail. The processing time for your application can take up to 30 days. If the DSS needs additional information or verification, you will be contacted. In case you miss any messages from the DSS or need more information regarding your application, you can always visit their office or call their helpline.

How to Apply for Expedited Food Stamps in NC

For those who need immediate help, expedited food stamp benefits are available in North Carolina. These benefits are provided within seven days of the application date. In order to qualify for expedited benefits, an applicant must meet certain criteria which include:

  • The household must have less than $150 in monthly income and have less than $100 in assets.
  • The household’s rent/mortgage and utilities must be more than its gross income and cash available.
  • The household must have less than $100 cash available
  • The household’s monthly income must be less than its monthly rent or mortgage payment plus the utility allowance.
  • The household must have a combined countable income and countable resources less than the monthly household living expenses.

If these criteria are met, the applicant can follow these steps to apply for expedited food stamps in North Carolina:

  1. Visit the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services website to download and print an application. Alternatively, applicants can also apply online through the ePASS system.
  2. Fill out the application accurately and completely. The application requires information about the applicant’s income, expenses, and household size. The applicant may also need to provide documentation such as proof of income, bills, and identification.
  3. Submit the application in person or by mail to a local Department of Health and Human Services office. If applying in person, the applicant can also request expedited service at that time.
  4. If approved, the applicant will receive their EBT card within seven days and can immediately begin using their benefits to purchase eligible food items.

It’s important to note that expedited benefits are intended for those who are truly in need of immediate assistance. It’s critical to provide accurate information and documentation throughout the application process to ensure that the eligibility criteria are met. By following these steps, those who qualify can receive swift access to the benefits they need to put food on the table.

For further information about expedited food stamps in NC, visit the North Carolina DHHS website or contact the local Department of Health and Human Services office.

Income requirements for food stamp eligibility in NC

As of 2021, North Carolina follows the federal income eligibility guidelines for food stamps, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). To be eligible for SNAP in NC, an applicant must meet both gross and net income limits.

Gross income limit refers to the total income before taxes or any other deductions. On the other hand, net income limit is calculated by subtracting certain allowable deductions from gross income. The net income limit determines the actual amount of SNAP benefits a household will receive.

Gross income limits

  • Household of one: $1,755 per month
  • Household of two: $2,371 per month
  • Household of three: $2,987 per month

Net income limits

The following table shows the net income limits based on the number of individuals in a household:

Number of Persons in HouseholdGross Monthly Income LimitNet Monthly Income Limit
Each additional person+ $616+ $482

Deductions from gross income

To calculate the net income, certain deductions will be subtracted from the gross income. The allowable deductions include:

  • 20% of earned income
  • Standard deduction based on household size
  • Childcare expenses for dependents under 2 years old or disabled dependents
  • Medical expenses for elderly or disabled members of the household
  • Mortgage or rent paid
  • Utilities expenses

It’s important to note that certain income and assets are not counted when calculating SNAP eligibility, including income tax refunds, child support payments, and home equity.

Applicants can visit the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) website or contact their local Department of Social Services to learn more about SNAP eligibility criteria and to apply for benefits.

How to Check the Status of Your Food Stamp Application in NC

After submitting your food stamp application in NC, you may be wondering how long it will take to hear back and if there is a way to check the status of your application. Fortunately, there are several ways to stay updated and informed throughout the process.

  • Call the NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) customer service line at 1-866-719-0141. This is the quickest way to get an update on your application status. Have your case number or social security number ready when you call.
  • Check your mailbox regularly for any correspondence from DHHS. They will send a letter notifying you of your application status and any next steps.
  • Create an account on the NC ePASS website. This will allow you to view your application status and benefit information online.

If you have any issues or questions regarding your application status, don’t hesitate to contact DHHS for assistance. It’s important to make sure that your application is processed efficiently and accurately, as it can make a substantial difference in your daily life.

How to Use EBT Cards for Food Stamp Benefits in NC

EBT cards are an essential tool for food stamp recipients in North Carolina. Follow these steps to use your EBT card and ensure you get the most out of your food stamp benefits.

  • Find out your balance: Before you go shopping, check your EBT card balance to know how much you can spend. You can do this by calling the number on the back of your card or checking online through the North Carolina ebtEDGE website.
  • Choose authorized retailers: Make sure you shop at a grocery store, supermarket, or farmer’s market that accepts EBT cards. You can use the “retailer locator” feature on the ebtEDGE website to find participating retailers in your area.
  • Shop for eligible items: Not all food items are eligible for purchase with EBT. Items such as alcohol, tobacco, and hot prepared foods cannot be bought with EBT. Try to stick to the following categories of food: meat, poultry, and fish; dairy; bread and cereal; fruits and vegetables; and seeds and plants to grow food.

Using your EBT card is very similar to using a debit card. Once you have selected all of the food items you want, you can take them to the cashier and follow these steps:

  • Swipe your card: Swipe your EBT card like you would your debit card at the checkout machine. If you have trouble with the machine, don’t hesitate to ask the cashier for help.
  • Enter your PIN: After swiping your card, you’ll be prompted to enter your Personal Identification Number (PIN). Follow the prompts on the machine to enter your PIN securely.
  • Confirm the transaction: After entering your PIN, confirm that you want to complete the sale by pressing “OK” or “Enter” on the machine. The amount of your purchase will be deducted from your EBT account balance.
  • Take your receipt: Once your transaction is complete, make sure you take your receipt as proof of purchase. Your EBT account balance will be updated to reflect the amount of your purchase.

It’s important to keep track of your spending to ensure that you don’t run out of food stamp benefits before the end of the month. You can check your EBT card balance as often as you like to stay on top of your spending.

Need Help?Contact Info
Lost or stolen cardContact the EBT Customer Service Help Desk at 1-888-622-7328
EBT card balance inquiriesCall the number on the back of your card or visit the North Carolina ebtEDGE website
Technical issues with the EBT card or websiteContact the EBT Customer Service Help Desk at 1-888-622-7328

By following these simple steps, you can use your EBT card for food stamp benefits in North Carolina with confidence and ease. Remember to shop for eligible food items, keep track of your balance, and report any issues or questions to the EBT Customer Service Help Desk.

Programs that offer job training and education to NC food stamp recipients.

North Carolina recognizes the value of equipping food stamp recipients with skills that can help them become self-sufficient and eventually transition out of the program. That’s why the state has implemented several programs that provide job training and educational opportunities to food stamp recipients.

  • The NCWorks program is one of the initiatives that aim to help food stamp recipients gain skills necessary for employment. Through the program, participants get access to job placement, resume building, and interview preparation services. They also receive training in various industries, such as healthcare, IT, manufacturing, and more.
  • The Work First program is another initiative that focuses on helping food stamp recipients transition into employment. The program provides job search assistance, financial assistance, and training opportunities to eligible participants. In addition, participants who complete the program requirements can receive cash assistance and other supportive services.
  • The Community College System of North Carolina also offers several training and educational programs for food stamp recipients. The state’s community colleges provide courses in various fields such as healthcare, business, education, and more. The programs are designed for individuals who want to acquire new skills or enhance existing ones to increase their chances of securing employment.

Aside from these programs, food stamp recipients can also access job training and education through NC Vocational Rehabilitation Services. The agency aims to help individuals with disabilities gain employment by providing vocational rehabilitation services, such as training, job coaching, and assistive technology.

If you are a food stamp recipient in North Carolina, it’s worth exploring these programs to see which ones can help you improve your employability. Participating in job training and education can not only increase your chances of getting employed but also give you the skills and confidence to become self-sufficient.

Here is a table summarizing the programs discussed above:

ProgramServices Offered
NCWorksJob placement, resume building, interview preparation, training in various industries
Work FirstJob search assistance, financial assistance, training opportunities
Community College System of North CarolinaTraining and educational programs in various fields
NC Vocational Rehabilitation ServicesVocational rehabilitation services for individuals with disabilities

By taking advantage of these programs, food stamp recipients in North Carolina can gain the skills and support they need to achieve their career goals and eventually become independent.

FAQs: How to Apply for Food Stamps NC

1. Who is eligible to apply for food stamps in NC?
– Individuals or households who meet certain income and asset requirements, and have a valid social security number can apply for food stamps in NC.

2. How can I apply for food stamps in NC?
– You can apply online through the NC ePASS portal, download a paper form to mail or drop off at your county DSS office, or call your county DSS office to request an application by mail.

3. What documents do I need to provide when applying for food stamps NC?
– You will need to provide proof of income, identity, citizenship or immigration status, and expenses such as rent or utilities.

4. How long does it take to get approved for food stamps in NC?
– The processing time for a food stamp application in NC can vary, but it generally takes 30 days from the date of application to receive a decision.

5. Can I receive food stamps if I have a job?
– Yes, you can still receive food stamps if you have a job as long as your income is within the eligibility requirements.

6. How much in food stamps can I receive in NC?
– The amount of food stamps you can receive in NC depends on your household size and income level. The maximum monthly benefit amount for a household of one is $194, while a household of eight can receive up to $1,164.

7. Do I have to recertify for food stamps in NC?
– Yes, you must recertify for food stamps every six months to maintain your eligibility and continue receiving benefits.

Closing: Thanks for Reading!

That’s all the information you need to know to apply for food stamps in NC. We hope this article has been helpful and informative. Remember, if you or someone you know is struggling to afford food, help is available. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your county DSS office or visit the NC ePASS portal to start your application today. Thanks for reading, and we hope to see you again soon!