When SNAP food benefits in North Carolina are issued to a program applicant, he or she has a list of approved food items that can be purchased using the benefits. There are items that food stamps benefits cannot be used to buy, even if they are available at an authorized retail location. It is important for program beneficiaries to learn more about approved food items before attempting to shop using the benefits, so they can get the most out of the program. North Carolina SNAP benefits are issued to ensure low-income residents have access to enough nutritious foods for them to stay healthy. The benefits for food stamps program offers applicants a quick way to obtain food financial assistance while dealing with economic hardship. With a benefit card food stamp program, recipients find it easy and convenient to use their benefits at participating stores. To learn more about the NC SNAP EBT card, what items can and cannot be purchased with food stamp benefits, how long it takes to receive benefits and how funds are calculated, review the information below.
Learn About Food Items You Can Purchase With SNAP in North Carolina
SNAP food stamp benefits in NC are issued to approved program applicants so they can provide healthy and nutritious meals for themselves and their family members. With this goal in mind, the SNAP food benefits program offers a list of approved food items that can be purchased using the benefits. North Carolina food stamp program benefits can be used to purchase wholesome and nutrient-dense food and ingredients, including:
- Meat, including chicken, pork and fish
- Dairy products, such as yogurt, milk and cheese
- Grains, including breads and cereals
- Fruits and vegetables
While the food stamp benefit card should be used on items that contribute to the health and well-being of household members, the program still allows recipients to purchase ‘junk food’ items like soft drinks, chips, candy and cakes. In addition to North Carolina SNAP food benefits, the program also provides nutritional education to teach program beneficiaries about healthy eating and the importance of providing nutritious meals to all family members.
Items You Cannot Buy With North Carolina SNAP Benefits
North Carolina food stamps benefits cannot be used to buy any items that cannot be a source of nutrition for the beneficiary or his or her family. A SNAP food stamp card cannot be used to purchase:
- Alcohol or tobacco products
- Non-food items, like household items, pet supplies or cosmetic products
- Vitamins, medications or supplements
- Pre-prepared foods or hot foods meant to be eaten on premises
Additionally, NC food stamp SNAP benefits cannot be used to purchase energy drinks that are labeled as supplements, or live animals and birds. Beneficiaries receiving SNAP food benefits can only buy gift baskets using their benefits if 50 percent or more of the basket contains approved food items. Gift baskets with alcohol or tobacco products are unapproved for purchase using a SNAP benefit card.
Download our guide to learn more about SNAP.
How Long Does It Take to Receive North Carolina SNAP Benefits After Enrollment?
Once a North Carolina SNAP benefits application has been submitted to the Health and Human Services Department, a representative must review the application and determine eligibility. When benefits for food stamps program are approved for the applicant, he or she will receive mailed notification that includes benefit calculations. For NC food stamp benefit program approval, the applicant must complete an interview and provide all requested documentation. Failure to do so in a timely manner will result in a delay in the approval process or the applicant may need to submit a new application if too much time has passed. After approval of the application and completion of the interview, a food stamp program benefit card will arrive in the mail, issued to the applicant, so he or she can conveniently use benefits at participating local retailers.
North Carolina EBT Card Overview
The NC food stamps benefits EBT card is the only way a beneficiary can access his or her program benefits, so it is important to learn how to use the card. Upon SNAP benefits card issuance, the beneficiary will be prompted to register an online account with the administrative portal and create a personal identification number (PIN) associated with the card. Once successfully registered, the SNAP food stamps benefits can be used at any authorized retailer to purchase approved food items the same way a debit card would be used. Upon checkout, the beneficiary can use the point of sale credit card machine and choose EBT as the payment method or hand the SNAP benefits card to the cashier for processing. Before the food stamp benefits can be accessed, the beneficiary must type in the PIN associated with the card for security purposes. The amount of North Carolina benefits for food stamps program used in the transaction are deducted from the beneficiary’s account balance automatically. Monthly SNAP benefit payments are deposited directly into the beneficiary’s account, if program eligibility is maintained. The benefit card food stamp balance can be checked anytime using the beneficiary’s online account.
Learn About North Carolina SNAP Benefit Amounts
Upon approval for North Carolina SNAP benefits, the Health and Human Services Department will also calculate the amount of monthly benefits available for the applicant. The amount of food stamp SNAP benefits allotted to a beneficiary is determined by the applicant’s income, expenses and household members. In certain cases, a food stamp benefit card will not be issued to an applicant unless he or she can pass a household resource test. The information provided on the SNAP food benefits application and statements made throughout the interview with a Health and Human Services Department representative are used in calculating the monthly benefits after eligibility has been established. Since the amount of food stamp program benefits relies on specific household factors, it is crucial for program beneficiaries to report any changes to income earned, expenses incurred or household member characteristics to ensure the proper benefit payments are awarded each month.