Apply for Food and Nutrition Services (Food Stamps) in NC

Electronic Benefit Transfer cards (EBT cards)

North Carolina Food and Nutrition Services (formerly Food Stamps) are available for all households with limited income and resources. A household may be one person living alone, a family, or several unrelated individuals cohabiting who buy and prepare meals together.
Electronic Benefit Transfer cards (EBT cards) is an electronic system that replaced paper food stamp coupons with a card. EBT cards can be used at any major grocery stores that authorized as is USDA retailer.

How To Apply for Food and Nutrition Services (Food Stamps) in NC

  • 1

    Check Eligibility

    Your local county Department of Social Services Office (DSS) eligibility workers will use application form DSS-1700 to help determine which income limit applies to your household. Eligibility requirements include:

    • Each applicant/recipient must be a U.S. citizen or a non-citizen lawfully admitted into the U.S.
    • Each applicant/recipient must live in North Carolina.

    Each applicant/recipient must have or have applied for a Social Security number.

    Tab/Accordion Items

    Some individuals must participate in Food and Nutrition Services as one household even though they purchase and prepare their meals separately.
    Individuals who must participate as one household include:

    • Individuals living together who purchase/prepare their food together
    • Spouses living together or individuals representing themselves as a married couple
    • Individuals under the age of 22 living with a parent
    • Individuals under 18 under the parental control of an adult living in the home
    • Two unmarried adults living in the same home who are parents of a mutual child





































    Each Additional Member




  • 2

    Get Prepared

    The person filing for Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) does not have to be the Head of Household. An authorized representative can apply on behalf of a Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) unit (A Food and Nutrition Services unit (FNS unit) is a person or a group of people applying for or receiving Food and Nutrition Services benefits.). In this situation the identity of both the authorized representative and the head of the FNS unit must be verified.

    Examples of acceptable verification include but are not limited to:

    • Driver’s license
    • Birth certificate
    • Work or school ID
    • Wage stubs
    • Voter registration card
    • ID for health benefits
    • Citizenship requirement
    • Verification of receipt of other social services programs such as but not limited to Medicaid and Work First Family Assistance.
  • 3

    Start Application Process

    There are three ways to apply for Food and Nutrition Services (Food Stamps). Get prepared before completing the application.  Apply as soon as possible. The sooner we receive your application the quicker you will know if you are eligible. 

    • Apply Online with ePASS (secure web-based, self-service tool that enables North Carolinians to both apply for and manage benefits such as Food and Nutrition Services).
      For Spanish speakers: You may complete the application process in Spanish online. Watch this video to learn about ePass in Spanish.
    • Apply in Person at your county Department of Social Services (DSS) office. It helps to fill out as much of the application as possible ahead of time.
    • By Mail or Turn in at Local DSS Office - Fill out a paper application form and mail to or drop it off at your local county DSS office.
  • 4

    Next Steps

    A caseworker must interview you or someone you choose to represent you. The individual interviewed may be the head of household, spouse, any other adult member of the household, or an authorized representative as outlined in FNS 175 Authorized Representative.

    The interview may be conducted in-person, by telephone, or video conference. This is to see if you can get Food and Nutrition Services. If you apply in person or drop off your application at the local DSS Office, you will be asked to stay for an interview. If you are unable to stay for your interview, please tell the receptionist or a caseworker so that we can schedule an interview for you.

Need Interpreter Services?

Call 866-719-0141

Have a Disability or Need Communication Assistance?

Call 866-719-0141 or Relay Services: 711