North Carolina Food Stamps (SNAP) Application Information

The Food Stamp program in North Carolina is known as Food and Nutritional Services (FNS) program is funded at the federal level by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and managed by the North Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS). Program eligibility is based on federally mandated income and resource levels such as your household income ranking in comparison to the set Federal Poverty Level (FPL). In North Carolina, the Food and Nutrition Services program, has replaced paper food stamps with an electronically loaded EBT debit card that works just like a bank card and can be swiped at any SNAP authorized grocery stores for most food purchases. SNAP eligibility is based on certain financial and non-financial criteria, mainly focusing on low-income households and those households with disabled or elderly family members.

North Carolina EBT Food Stamp debit card covers the following foods

Fruits and Vegetables

North Carolina's SNAP EBT debit card covers fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables. Participants in the program can also use their card to purchase seeds to grow their own vegetables and fruits.

Meat and Dairy Products

Meat, fish, poultry and dairy products such as milk, butter, eggs and cheese are also covered. However, SNAP EBT card does not cover the purchase of live animals to be slaughtered for food.

Cookies and Snacks

Cookies, crackers, chips, popcorn, cake and ice cream are all considered food products, and are all covered by SNAP in North Carolina. Soda is also covered, however there have been several suggestions to remove it from the list of products that cannot be purchased with the EBT card.

Prepared Foods

SNAP limits the types of prepared foods that can be purchased with the card. Food stamps do not cover any food ready to be consumed on the premises of the business that made it. The card cannot be used to purchase hot foods. However, it can be used to pay for cold, take-out foods such as salads and cold sandwiches.

Nutritional Supplements

In North Carolina and elsewhere, food stamps cover the purchase of nutritional supplements. Drinks with additional nutritional value and weight loss drinks can be purchased.

Products Not Covered by North Carolina EBT Food Stamp debit card

Alcohol, tobacco, paper products, soaps and household, pet foods, medicines and gift fruit baskets that contain non-food items that make up more than half the cost of the basket are also not covered by food stamps.

Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility is based on a household's combined gross monthly income, which must range between 130 to 200 percent of the FPL. Households with an elderly or disabled member or that receiving supplemental security income or work first family assistance are exempted. A household must also meet specified asset and resource limits. This includes all savings and checking account finances and may not exceed $3,000 if a household member is elderly or disabled and $2,000 for all other households. Applicants must also be U.S. citizens or legal aliens and maintain employment or participate in a training or job placement program.

To receive benefits, each member in the household must be a resident of North Carolina and a United States citizen, or meet specific requirements for immigration status.

Eligibility based on Income

A household must meet Federal income requirements to be eligible for benefits; this is based on the number of members in the family. The gross maximum income for a single household is $1,174 a month where a maximum $200 cab be received each month. For each additional member in the house, add $406 to determine the maximum income limit. The benefit amount increases with each additional member of the household. More about this can be found by clicking here.


Participants may be required to take either a job training class or an employment and training course. Applicants who are unemployed and do not take part in the required courses can only receive benefits for a period of three months. This limited eligibility requirement does not apply to adults who work more than 20 hours a week, is pregnant, disabled or have children under the age of 18.

A household includes everyone living in the applicant's family who purchase or consume food. Persons living in the home need not to be relatives to be part of the household and be included on the application. It is a must for certain members of a household to be listed on the application. They include spouse, children under the age of 22 and unmarried couples who the parents of children are living in the home.

A household cannot have more than $2,000 in assets to qualify. Assets include cash, bank accounts and retirement accounts. If a member of the household is over the age of 60, the asset limit is $3,000. Some resources, including your home, land, Supplemental Security Income and Work First payments do not count as an asset.

Eligible applicants have the right to receive benefits within 30 days of turning in an application, or within seven days if eligible for emergency benefits. An application for food stamp benefits must be given when requested, and an applicant has the right to turn it in the same day.

There is no limit to how long you can retain food stamp benefits through FNS, but certain restrictions apply. If you are an individual between the ages of 18 and 49 who is able-bodied but does not work or have dependents, you may qualify for FNS benefits for only three months in a three-year period. Exceptions include applicants who are taking care of a child under age 18 or a disabled person of any age, and anyone who works at least 20 hours per week or 80 hours per month.

Food Stamps Application Instructions

You need to do an electronic pre-assesment screening service to see if you qualify to receive food and nutrition benefits. Click here to begin your SNAP (Food Staps) application.

Download an Application

Click here to download an application.

Walk in / Telephone Application

Call the Henderson County Department of Social Services at 828-697-5500 or visiting the department's office in person. Provide any requested personal information about yourself and the members of your household on the application. Be prepared to submit additional documentation such as a photo ID, birth certificate or bank statements with your application.

Mail in Your Application

Submit your completed application for food and nutrition services, along with any required supplemental documentation, to the Henderson County Department of Social Services at the following address:

1200 Spartanburg Highway, Suite 300
Hendersonville, NC 28792

Determination notice of your benefit eligibility is issued within 30 days from the date that the application was submitted.