Do you have questions about the Food and Nutrition Services/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (FNS/SNAP)?  This blog will provide answers to the most common questions we hear.  The eligibility requirements to receive FNS/SNAP have changed in the past few years, so continue reading to learn if you, or someone you know, may be eligible.

1.     Can I have income and still qualify?

Yes, you can earn income and still qualify for SNAP/FNS.  To be eligible, your income must be at or below gross income limits, which are based on the size of your household. Your local Department of Social Services  can help you determine which income limits apply to you.

FNS Income Limits: October 1, 2013 – September 30, 2014

# of people in household Maximum Gross Income 200% Standard Gross Income 130%
1 $1,916 $1,245
2 $2,586 $1,681
3 $3,256 $2,116
4 $3,926 $2,552
5 $4,596 $2,987


2.     Can I have assets or resources and still be eligible?

Many people mistakenly believe that they can’t have ANY resources or assets and still qualify for FNS. Some households are required to meet a resource test for assets such as bank accounts and money in certain retirement accounts. But it’s important to know that certain resources aren’t counted. You can own your home, land, or lot and still quality.


3.     Are expenses considered when I apply?

Yes, household expenses, such as rent, mortgage, and utility costs are evaluated as part of your application.  If you’re disabled or age 60+ medical expenses are also considered. Learn more about eligibility for medical deductions here. (Link to medical deductions blog.)


4.     How will I receive the money for food?

FNS/SNAP benefits are loaded monthly on an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card that you can use anywhere EBT cards are accepted, including the grocery store, some farmers’ markets, and convenience stores.  When you use your card, the cost of the food you purchased is subtracted from your EBT account and your receipt will show the remaining balance.


5.   How will I know how much money I have on the EBT card?

You can check your balance through an automated phone number, which can be found on the back of you card.  And, your remaining available EBT balance is printed on your receipt after each use.  Learn more about EBT cards here.


6.     What is a household?

A household is considered a group of individuals who live together, buy food together, and prepare food together.  This can be a spouse or child.  In certain situations, a home can contain more than one household – in the case where the residents buy and prepare food separate from one another.


Do you still have a question about FNS/SNAP? You can submit a question using the form on our Contact page. Or call our toll-free number at 1-855-240-1451 to ask questions, find out if you’re eligible, or complete an application.


North Carolina Division of Social Services. (2013) Food and Nutrition Services General Information. Retrieved from: http://www.ncdhhs.gov/dss/foodstamp/index.htm