Food & Nutrition

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.


To get Food and Nutrition Services, your income and your other resources have to be under certain limits. 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 housing 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 Supplemental Security Income (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 Maximum Allotment
 People in Household
 Gross Monthly Income
 Maximum Allotment
 1 $1,265  $194
 2 $1,705  $357
 3 $2,144  $511
 4 $2,548
 5 $3,024  $771
 6 $3,464  $925
 7 $3,904  $1,022


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 the National Food and Nutrition website. Answer the questions. If it looks like you might be eligible, you can also find out how much you could receive. But to find out for sure, you must apply.

Applying for Food and Nutrition Services

If you think you might be eligible for Food and Nutrition Services and want to apply, you need to:
  1. Call or go to the local department of social services for an application or ask them to mail you an application.
  2. Fill out the application as much as you can. Put your name and street address on the form and sign it.
  3. Return the application to the local office.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Or you can apply on line at North Carolina ePass website.
After reviewing your application, the local office worker will tell you if you qualify and how much you will receive.

Social Security Information

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. People 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 Rockingham, 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 is secure, user friendly, and provides step by step instructions for each service.

Unemployment Eligibility

You may be eligible for food and nutrition benefits if you are unemployed; however, some people have to work or go to training. If this is true for you or others in your household we will tell you.

​Low Income Energy Assistance

The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) is a Federally-funded program that provides for a one-time vendor payment to help eligible households pay their heating bills. Only households containing an elderly person age 60 and above or a disabled persons receiving services through the Division of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS) are eligible to potentially receive benefits from December 1st through December 31st or until funds are exhausted.

Any household can potentially receive benefits from January 1 through March 31 or until funds are exhausted.

A household that applies must:

  • Have at least one U.S. citizen or non-citizen who meets the eligibility criteria
  • Meet an income test
  • Have reserves at or below $2,250
  • Be responsible for its heating bills


The following chart describes the Low Income Energy Assistance Eligibility Requirements.

Eligibility Requirement

What's Needed

How Often


ID, Contact with someone knowledgeable of your situation

At application


Lease, rental agreement, any other shelter expenses, contact with someone knowledgeable of your situation

At application or situation, if moving

Citizenship/ Alien Status

Verification of citizenship/alien status via Immigration and Naturalization Service

At application

Social Security Number

Valid social security card or number

At application

Earned Income: Wages/Self-Employment

Wage stubs, tax forms contacting employer

At application

Unearned Income: Public Benefits/ Private Retirement Benefits/Trust, etc.

Documents from provider, award letter

At application


Ownership and tax records - bank and court documents

At application

Heating Expense

Copy of bills

At application

How to Apply


Applications will be taken December 1 through January 31 or until funds are exhausted. Contact your local Department of Social Services for the application dates and for additional information on LIEAP.