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 Food and Nutrition Services


Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) is a federal food assistance program that helps low-income families. In North Carolina monthly allotments of FNS benefits are issued via Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards . The purpose of Food and Nutrition Services is to end hunger and improve nutrition and health. It helps eligible low-income households buy the food they need for a nutritionally adequate diet.

Food and Nutrition Services is an entitlement program, so all eligible individuals and households can receive assistance. Benefits may be used to purchase most foods at participating stores. They may not be used to purchase tobacco, pet food, paper products, soap products, or alcoholic beverages.

Eligible households must have the opportunity to access benefits no later than thirty days from the date of application. Individuals with special circumstances must have an opportunity to use their benefits within seven days from the date of application.


 Applicants must meet the following criteria:




 All households must meet an income test to receive benefits. Income limits vary by household size.

You *may* be eligible for Food and Nutrition Services if your total income falls below the appropriate gross income limits for your household size. Please be aware that the eligibility workers at Moore County Department of Social Services (MCDSS) can determine which income limit applies to your household and have many other factors to consider in determining if you are eligible.

"Household" size refers to the number in the household who may be eligible for FNS. Eligibility requirements may differ in households which include Individuals who receive SSI, WFFA or an aged or disabled individual.

North Carolina residents can use an online tool called ePASS to screen themselves for potential eligibility for Food and Nutrition Services.

The online screening tool can be found at https://epass.nc.gov.

1 $1180 $1815 $200
2 $1594 $2452 $367
3 $2008 $3089 $526
4 $2422 $3725 $668
5 $2836 $4362 $793
6 $3249 $4999 $952
7 $3663 $5635 $1052
8 $4077 $6272 $1202
Each Additional Member (+414) (+637) (+150)



Household Composition


Individuals residing together, but purchasing and preparing their meals separately, may participate in FNS as a separate household. Some individuals must participate in FNS as one household even though they purchase and prepare their meals separately.

Individuals who must participate in FNS as one household are:

  • Individuals living together who purchase/prepare their food together or will do so upon receipt of food assistance
  • Spouses living together or individuals representing themselves as husband and wife to the community
  • Individuals under 22 living with a parent
  • Individuals under 18 under the parental control of an adult living in the home; or
  • Two unmarried adults living in the same home who are parents of a mutual child

Citizenship/Immigration Status


Each member of the FNS household must be a U. S. Citizen or an immigrant admitted to the United States under a specific immigration status. Citizens and eligible immigrants must also meet all other FNS eligibility requirements to receive assistance.


Work Requirements


Able-bodied adults ages 18 through 49 who do not have any dependent children (ABAWD) can get FNS benefits only for 3 months in a 36-month period if they do not work or participate in an Employment and Training program other than job search.  Other members of the household may continue to get benefits even if this person is not eligible.

This limited eligibility requirement does not apply if the adult

  • Works at least 20 hours a week (or 80 hours a month), or is engaging in a variety of allowable work-related activities for the same amount of time [such as Employment and Training, Workforce Investment Act (WIA), community college, etc.;
  • Is pregnant or disabled;
  • Lives in a home where a child under the age of 18 resides; or,
  • Lives in a county that is under an ABAWD waiver due to the distressed economic conditions.

An individual who is working at least 30 hours per week (or receives wages equal to minimum wage times 30 hours) that voluntarily quits a job or reduces her/his work hours below 30 hours per week may not be eligible to receive benefits.

FNS recipients can volunteer for the Employment and Training Program if it is operated in their county.




Households may have $2,000 in countable resources, such as bank accounts and money in certain retirement accounts. Households may have $3,250 if at least one person is age 60 or older or disabled. Certain resources are not counted, such as homes, buildings, and land. The resources of people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Work First payments or services are not countable.

Many women and children in Food and Nutrition Services households are also eligible for food assistance through the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program, administered by the NC Division of Public Health.

To learn more about Food and Nutrition Services please visit the United States Department of Agriculture's web site.

If you have questions or comments please feel free to contact us via email


Your Rights


You have the right to:

  • Receive an application when you ask for it.
  • Turn in your application the same day you receive it.
  • Receive your Food and Nutrition Services (or be notified that you are not eligible for the program) within 30 days after you turn in your application.
  • Receive Food and Nutrition Services within 7 days if you are eligible for emergency benefits.
  • Have a fair hearing if you disagree with any action taken on your case. You, any member of your Food and Nutrition Services unit or a representative, including an attorney obtained at your own expense, may request the hearing by contacting Moore County Department of Social Services (MCDSS) at (910)692-2436. The request can be made in person, by telephone or in writing. To inquire about free legal advice, contact your nearest Legal Services Office. For more information, you may call DHHS Customer Service Center at 1-866-719-0141.


In accordance with Federal Law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, political beliefs, or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TTY). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.