Changes for Food and Nutrition Services

If you already receive help buying food through Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) , the NC Department of Health and Human Services has received permission to enhance your benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Maximum Allotments for Eligible Households

All families that receive FNS will receive the maximum amount allowed for March, April and May 2020 for their household size. For example, a family of four would be eligible to receive a total of $646 for each of the three months no matter what their usual amount is. The increase is subject to the following guidelines: 

  • Households that have already received the maximum amount for their household size will not receive the temporary increase.
  • The household size will not include ineligible or disqualified members.
  • Households that were ineligible in either March, April or May 2020 will not receive a temporary increase for the month(s) they were ineligible.
  • Households that were eligible for an allotment but prorated to $0 during those months will receive a supplement for the prorated month.
  • If a household had a prior overpayment that was being recouped during March, April or May, that will not affect the supplement amount. 

Households should have already received the temporary increased benefit for March and April on their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. Additional benefits for May will be added beginning May 22. They will be randomly generated and staggered every workday until all eligible households have received their temporary increase. 

Recipients will continue to receive their regular benefits and should be aware they will receive two separate payments during March, April and May.

To check availability of benefits families should:

  • Visit Click on More Information under EBT Cardholders.
  • Download the ebtEDGE mobile app. The app is available as a free download on the Apple Store and Google Play.
  • Call 1-888-622-7328.

FNS participants will be able to purchase groceries online using their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards at authorized online EBT retailers. Additionally, participants will be able to purchase groceries online using their EBT cards at authorized online EBT retailers. 

Certification Periods Extended

To help limit the spread of COVID-19, NCDHHS has also received approval to extend FNS certification periods so that beneficiaries don’t have to visit county Social Services offices to qualify for continued services.
Certification periods will be extended for all six- and 12-month cases that have a certification period ending between March 31, 2020 and June 30, 2020.

  • Cases with six-month certification periods will be extended for six months.  
  • Cases with 12-month certification periods will be extended 12 months.
  • Individuals/families with cases at the end of March, April or May 2020 will not need to submit a recertification until their next certification period has ended.
  • Notices will be sent out to clients explaining the change.

Other waivers and potential program supplements are being explored at both the federal and state levels. Information will be provided as decisions are made.

Work Requirements for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents

With many businesses closing to reduce the spread of COVID-19, work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWD) are being temporarily and partially suspended beginning April 1, 2020, until the public health emergency declaration is lifted. All active FNS beneficiaries are being notified of this change. This change affects pending applications and future applications until the declaration is lifted. 


  • Visit and click on More Information under EBT Cardholders.
  • Download the ebtEDGE mobile app. The app is available as a free download on the Apple Store and Google Play.
  • Call the EBT Call Center at 1-888-622-7328.

Families and individuals who do not currently receive benefits can apply online with ePass.