Food and Nutrition Services (Food Stamps)

Stolen FNS Benefits Reimbursement.

North Carolina’s Food and Nutrition Services is working to help FNS beneficiaries whose benefits have been stolen by card skimming, cloning and other types of fraud. If you’ve had your FNS benefits stolen, learn how to ask to have your benefits reimbursed.
Find answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs): English, Spanish.

Civil Rights/Non-Discrimination       Versión en Español 

Food and Nutrition Services (FNS, also known as Food Stamps) is a program that helps eligible people with limited incomes supplement their budgets so they can purchase food. 

The benefits are given on an EBT card, which works like a debit card. You can use it to buy food at stores that accept EBT cards. Look for signs that say, “We accept SNAP benefits.”

Latest Updates

  • FNS continues to combat card skimming, fraud and benefit theft: If your FNS benefits have been stolen, learn how to ask to have your benefits replaced.
  • New: You can now subscribe to get FNS notices electronically and receive messages from your caseworker by text. More info
  • Get access to new, online features! Ask your caseworker at your next meeting to enhance and link your ePASS account. View the flyers to learn more: English, Spanish.
  • The SUN Bucks program will officially launch in summer 2024! SUN Bucks will provide grocery buying benefits to qualifying families with school aged children during the summer months. More information can be found here.

What can we help you do today?

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Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) eligibility is determined by income, household size, assets, and many other factors. Because the calculation is complex, the best way to find out if you’re eligible is to apply. 

Don't wait! Your benefits start from the date we get your application — even if it's not complete. Find out how to apply for FNS benefits.

You may be able to get benefits if you:

  • Have no job or a low-paying job
  • Receive Work First Family Assistance (WFFA), TANF (also known as welfare), or SSI benefits (for people with disabilities) 
  • Are elderly or disabled, and low-income
  • Are experiencing homelessness

To qualify, your household must meet certain rules about how much money you make, how much money and property you have, and where you live. 

Here are some basic things you need to know:

1. Applying for yourself or as a household.  

You are a household of one (1) if you live alone, are homeless, or have roommates you do not cook and eat meals with. When you apply, remember that your household is just you.   

If you live with your family or others and you prepare and eat meals with them, count each of those people in your household. That includes children and seniors in your home.

2. Income and resource limits.

For most people, FNS eligibility has limits to the income you and others in your household can receive. Additionally, there are limits on how much money and property ("resources") you can have. You may still qualify if you work part-time, make a little money, or own a home or car.

After you apply, case workers determine which limits apply to you, and whether certain deductions (like for medical and/or shelter expenses) might help you qualify.

3. Other requirements.

  • You must be a North Carolina resident and a U.S. citizen or have certain legal status. Undocumented immigrants are not eligible.
  • You must have a Social Security number or have applied for one.
  • People convicted of certain drug-related felonies may not be eligible.
  • College students are not eligible unless they meet certain work requirements or exceptions.
  • If you're an adult without kids and you're able to work, you might have to work or take part in a work program to keep getting benefits.

Ready for the next step? 
Apply for Benefits

Applying for FNS benefits – also called Food Stamps – can feel overwhelming, but we have created a checklist to help you prepare:

Find Out How to Apply

If you’re ready to apply or are checking on the status of your application, visit the ePASS website.

You can now submit online recertifications. Visit the FNS and SNAP Recertification page to learn more and view frequently asked questions.

You can now submit online change of circumstances. Visit the FNS and SNAP Change of Circumstance page to learn more and view frequently asked questions.

There are several ways to check FNS balances and all are available 24/7. Make sure you have your card number ready. Then you can:

  • Call 1-888-622-7328
  • Visit Click on More Information under EBT Cardholders.
  • Download the ebtEDGE mobile app. The app is available as a free download on the Apple Store and Google Play.

If you can’t find your card or card number, call 1-888-622-7328 for assistance. 

Learn more about your EBT Card.

If you are having an issue with your EBT Card, like if it gets lost or you forget your PIN, look through the EBT FAQs here. 

You can activate your card, select a PIN, check your card balance, view your transaction history or cancel your EBT card by using the cardholder portal at or through the EBT Edge mobile app available at Google Play or the Apple Store.

For other questions, you can call the NC EBT Call Center at 1-866-719-0141 or use our contact form here. The Call Center is open from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm Monday through Friday. It is not open on weekends or holidays.

Frequently Asked Questions

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The FNS benefits are issued on an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. FNS recipients use EBT cards to access FNS benefits at any USDA-authorized retailer. Most major grocery stores are USDA-authorized retailers. Questions about lost or stolen cards, changing PIN, or checking balances can be answered by calling 1-888-622-7328.

The amount of benefits each household receives is based on several eligibility factors such as the number of people in the household, total income, and allowable deductions. 

You are a household of one (1) if you live alone, are experiencing homelessness, or have roommates you do not cook and eat meals with. If you live with your family or others who you prepare and eat meals with, count each of those people in your household. That includes children and seniors in your home. 

Household Size Maximum Benefit*
1 $291
2 $535
3 $766
4 $973
5 $1,155
6 $1,386
7 $1,532
8 $1,751
Each Additional Member (+$219)

* Because many factors go into determining the benefit amount, most households do not receive the maximum. Apply now.

Your EBT benefits will be available on the same day each month according to the last digit of your social security number (SSN), even if that day is on a weekend or holiday.

If your SSN ends in: Your benefits will be available after 6 a.m. on the:
1 3rd day of every month
2 5th day of every month
3 7th day of every month
4 9th day of every month
5 11th day of every month
6 13th day of every month
7 15th day of every month
8 17th day of every month
9 19th day of every month
0 21st day of every month

Note: Benefits are available on the 3rd day of every month if you do not have a Social Security Number.

Use our Local Department of Social Services finder to locate the FNS office closest to you. 

While you can do many FNS-related tasks online, you may choose to visit the FNS office to apply for benefits, drop off documentation, or speak with a case worker.

Examples of items you can buy with FNS: 

  • Breads, cereals, fruits, vegetables 
  • Meats, fish, poultry, dairy 
  • Bottled water, non-alcoholic beverages 
  • Seeds and plants that produce food 

Examples of items you cannot buy with FNS: 

  • Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes 
  • Any nonfood items such as pet foods, soaps, household supplies 
  • Vitamins and medicines 
  • Hot foods or foods already prepared

Contact us

Need additional help? Call the NC EBT Call Center at 1-866-719-0141, or send an online message to the Division of Social Services.


If you have complaints or concerns, you may:

  • Contact us at 1-866-719-0141
  • Send an online message to the North Carolina Division of Social Services
  • Send a letter to:
    U.S. Department of Agriculture 
    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 

    Food and Nutrition Service, USDA
    1320 Braddock Place, Room 334
    Alexandria, VA 22314; or 
    *Do not send application/recertification forms here.

    fax: (833) 256-1665 or (202) 690-7442; or