Food and Nutrition Services – COVID-19 Updates

If you already receive help buying food through Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) , the NC Department of Health and Human Services has received permission to enhance your benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Maximum Allotments for Eligible Households

All families that receive FNS will receive the maximum amount allowed for March 2020 and April 2020 for their household size. For example, a family of four would be eligible to receive a total of $646 for each of the two months no matter what their usual amount is. The increase is subject to the following guidelines: 

  • Households that have already received the maximum amount for their household size will not receive the temporary increase.
  • The household size will not include ineligible or disqualified members.
  • Households that were ineligible in either March 2020 or April 2020 will not receive a temporary increase for the month(s) they were ineligible.
  • Households that were eligible for an allotment but either month prorated to $0 will receive a supplement for the prorated month.
  • If a household had a prior overpayment that was being recouped during March or April, that will not affect the supplement amount. 

Households will begin receiving the temporary increased benefit on their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card on April 1 and April 22. They will be randomly generated and staggered every other workday until all eligible households have received their temporary increase. 

Recipients will continue to receive their regular benefits and should be aware they will receive two separate payments for March and two for April.

To check availability of benefits families should:

  • 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.

Certification Periods Extended

To help limit the spread of COVID-19, NCDHHS has also received approval to extend FNS certification periods so that beneficiaries don’t have to visit county Social Services offices to qualify for continued services.
Certification periods will be extended for all six- and 12-month cases that have a certification period ending between March 31, 2020 and April 30, 2020.

  • Cases with six-month certification periods will be extended for six months.  
  • Cases with 12-month certification periods will be extended 12 months.
  • Individuals/families with cases ending on March 31, 2020 or April 30, 2020 will not need to submit a recertification until their next certification period has ended.
  • Notices will be sent out to clients explaining the change.

Other waivers and potential program supplements are being explored at both the federal and state levels. Information will be provided as decisions are made.

Work Requirements for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents

With many businesses closing to reduce the spread of COVID-19, work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWD) are being temporarily and partially suspended beginning April 1, 2020, until the public health emergency declaration is lifted. All active FNS beneficiaries are being notified of this change. This change affects pending applications and future applications until the declaration is lifted. 


  • Call the EBT Call Center at 1-888-622-7328.

  • Visit and 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.

Families and individuals who do not currently receive benefits can apply online with ePass.