Food & Nutrition Services
The purpose of Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) is to end hunger and improve nutrition and health. This federal food assistance program helps eligible low-income households buy the food they need for a nutritionally adequate diet. Food and Nutrition Services is only a supplement to your income, it is not intended to feed the family for the entire month. In North Carolina, monthly allotments of FNS benefits are issued via Electronic Benefit Transfer cards (EBT cards).
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.
Food Stamps = Food & Nutrition Services = Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
It has been years since this program was officially known as "food stamps". A large majority of people, however, still know it by this name. In 2008, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the federal agency responsible for the administration of the program, officially changed the name to SNAP. North Carolina chose to continue to call the program Food & Nutrition Services. The program and the benefits are still the same, and no matter what it is called, the focus remains: putting healthy food within reach of low income households.
You can visit the NC ePASS website for additional information on the benefit. One helpful link provided by the site is a Benefit Estimator. Your actual benefit can only be determined by a caseworker and you should not let an unfavorable estimate deter you from submitting an application. ePASS now includes an application that can be completed and submitted online.
How to apply for Food and Nutrition Services:
Apply online or come to Social Services to apply as soon as you need assistance with buying food because the day your application is received is your "eligibility date". You may also call our office at 252-636-4900 to request an application be mailed to you. Once received, you would need to complete the application and mail, fax, or bring in the application to Social Services. Your eligibility date, however, is the date your completed and signed application is received. Our mailing address is:
Craven County Social Services
PO Box 12039
New Bern, NC 28561-2039