Budgeting food stamps is a difficult task to manage even in the best of circumstances. One way that some families have learned to budget their food stamp benefits each month is to use bulk shopping options
The North Carolina Division of Social Services handles Food and Nutrition Services (FNS), which is the state's food stamp program. The program uses federal funds from the USDA to supply low-income families with benefits to purchase food for a healthier diet. In North Carolina, FNS works hard to end hunger and improve the nutrition of its hardest hit citizens with monthly benefits that are delivered through an Electronic Benefits Transfer Card (EBT cards). FNS also tries to inform its aid recipients about different ways to provide meals and give a well-rounded diet to families. As the Food and Nutrition Services is an entitlement program, all eligible individuals and households can receive assistance. Benefits may be used to purchase most foods at participating stores. However, they may not be used to purchase tobacco, alcohol, pet food, paper products or soap. If you are not sure if you are eligible or you want to read more about the North Carolina FNS program, you can visit the North Carolina Division of Social Services online. There are some individuals who may qualify for emergency assistance and receive benefits within 7 days of applying. There are regulations on income, household composition, citizenship, work requirements and resources that applicants must follow in order to receive any aid. You can start the process by filling out an application.
You can read about how to apply for the food stamp program and view requirements on the North Carolina Division of Social Services website. You can also use the online screening tool to decide if you will qualify for food stamps or other cash assistance aid at the ePASS portal. You can download and print the Application for Food and Nutrition Services (PDF) and turn into a local county department of social services office. You can find a listing of these offices by clicking here. You must mail, fax or bring the application into the office of which your household resides. Some counties also have FNS outreach offices. Persons who live in households consisting of only Supplemental Security Income applicants or recipients may apply for FNS through a Social Security Administration Office.
The first step in determining your eligibility can start with the screening tool at the ePASS website. You can also view some of the information online that is necessary to determine eligibility, such as your name and birth date, gross income, liquid resources and expenses. You also must be a U.S. citizen and resident of North Carolina. Your liquid resources are determined by your cash on hand, checking accounts, savings accounts, certificates of deposits and money market accounts. In addition, your household size and income must qualify as low-income, meaning if you have a household of four, you generally cannot make more than $2,422 per month. In addition, your liquid resources cannot surpass a certain limit, usually about $2,000. However these amounts are higher if you live with an elderly person over the age of 60 or a disabled individual.
SNAP is the federal name for the food assistance programs. Every state has multiple SNAP locations. In fact, every county should have multiple locations where you can use your card. You can find specific locations near you using the SNAP retailer locator on the federal website. North Carolina Division of Social Services recommends contacting the local county department of social services office nearest to you to inquire about forms or more information. You can see a directory listing of these offices by clicking here.