Food and Nutrition

What is Food and Nutrition Services?

Food and Nutrition Services helps people with low income or no income buy nutritious food.  Food and Nutrition Services is not cash. The benefits come on a plastic card that you use like a bank card to buy food. Most grocery stores accept Food and Nutrition Services benefits.

Can I get Food and Nutrition Services?

To get Food and Nutrition Services, your income and your other resources have to be under certain limits.

  • Income: Your total income, before taxes or any other subtractions, is called gross income. However, the program allows certain deductions to be subtracted from your gross income. These deductions include hosing costs, child support, medical expenses (for elderly or disabled people), or child-care costs. The amount of income left is called net income.

Most households must meet both gross and net income limits. If your household has a person who is 60 or older or who is disabled, you only need to meet the net income limit. If everyone in your household receives SSI or WFFA, you do not need to meet any of the income limits.

Look at the income table to find out what the gross and net income limits are for Food and Nutrition Services. The amounts in this table are good from October 1, 2009 to September 30, 2010.

People in Household Gross Monthly Income Net Monthly Income
1 $1,174 $ 903
2 $1,579 $1,215
3 $1,984 $1,526
4 $2,389 $1,838
5 $2,794 $2,150
6 $3,200 $2,461
7 $3,605 $2,773
  • Resources: Your resources are things link bank accounts. To qualify for Food and Nutrition Services, your household may have up to $2,000 in resources. If your household has a person who is aged 60 or older or who is disabled, you may have up to $3,000 in resources.

Resources that don't count are your home, land, buildings, most vehicles and the resources of people who receive WFFA or SSI.

One way to see if you might be able to get Food and Nutrition Services is to go to www.snap-step1.usda.gov/fns. Answer the questions. If it looks like you might be eligible, you can also find out how much you could receive. Bu to find out for sure, you must apply.

How do I apply for Food and Nutrition Services?

If you think you might be eligible for Food and Nutrition Services and want to apply, you need to:

  • Call or go to the local department of social services for an application or ask them to mail you an application.
  • Fill out the application as much as you can. Put your name and street address on the form and sign it.
  • Return the application to the local office.
  • Have an interview. You can do your interview over the phone or you can have a friend or relative go to the interview in your place.
  • Show the local office important papers such as pay stubs, receipts for rent or mortgage payments, utility bills, child or elder care bills, child support court orders and cancelled checks.

After reviewing your application, the local office worker will tell you if you qualify and how much you will receive.

Do I need a Social Security number?

Yes, you must get a Social Security number if you want Food and Nutrition Services. Not all people in the household have to join the program. Peope in the household who do not want Food and Nutrition Services do not have to give their Social Security number; they do have to give their financial information.

The Social Security office in Lumberton, NC, offers applications for Retirement, Spouse’s, Medicare, and Disability benefits online.  Individuals who already receive benefits can request a statement of their benefits or request a replacement Medicare card, among a variety of other services.  The Social Security website www.socialsecurity.gov is secure, user friendly, and provides step by step instructions for each service. 

Can I get Food and Nutrition Services if I am not working?

Yes, but some people hve to work or go to training. If this is true for you or others in your household we will tell you.

If I am eligible, how much can I get?

Look at the table below to see the most you can get if you have no income. As your income goes up, your Food and Nutrition Services benefits go down. The amounts in this table are good from October 1, 2009 to September 30, 2010.

People in Household Maximum Monthly Allotment
1 $ 200
2 $ 367
3 $ 526
4 $ 668
5 $ 793
6 $ 952
7 $1, 052

How does Food and Nutrition Services help me eat healthier?

Food and Nutrition Services helps stretch your dollars at the grocery store so you and your family can eat a variety of healthy food, such as grains (especially whole grains), fruits and vegetables everyday. Good foods can help you and your family stay healthy.