Each year, millions of Americans benefit from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), designed to provide low-income families with the food they need for a nutritional diet.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 15% of North Carolina residents were SNAP participants in fiscal year 2021. Recent data also shows that 12.1% of North Carolinians were food insecure, meaning their access to food was limited by lack of resources, according to CBPP.
Here’s how to apply for SNAP benefits, and where you can use them in Charlotte.
Where to get immediate food assistance in Charlotte
For immediate food assistance, call the USDA National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-348-6479. The hotline operates from 7 am-10pm Monday through Friday. Individuals can also contact a local church or food banks for assistance.
Who qualifies for SNAP benefits?
If your annual income is at or below 130% of the federal poverty line, you are eligible for SNAP benefits. You can visit benefits.gov and select your household size to determine your eligibility.
According to the NC Department of Health and Human Services, there are three ways to apply:
After your application is approved, your benefits will be issued on an Electronic Benefits Transfer card, similar to a bank card, according to NCDHHS.
Recipients who are disabled or unable to shop for themselves can name a trusted family member or friend as an authorized representative. This person will get an EBT card that has full access to the recipient’s account and be able to shop for them. To name a representative, contact the DSS call center at 704-336-3000.
Where to use SNAP benefits in Charlotte
The SNAP Retailer Locator on the US Department of Agriculture website shows more than 500 stores in Charlotte that accept food stamps, including Harris Teeter, Food Lion, Publix, Aldi and dollar store locations.
According to the USDA, EBT cards can only be used to purchase:
Benefits cannot be used to purchase detergents, paper products, tobacco products or alcoholic beverages.