The fresh guide to EBT in North Carolina.

There’s a ton of EBT information out there, and keeping track of it all can be overwhelming. Our goal at Fresh EBT is to make it easier to manage your EBT benefits, so we’re breaking down all the basics in one handy guide.

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What's the North Carolina EBT Card?

EBT = electronic benefits transfer.

EBT card = a card that looks and works like a debit or credit card but is loaded with food stamps and/or cash benefits. You can use it at stores that accept EBT.

You’ll get the North Carolina EBT Card once you’re approved for benefits.

North Carolina’s EBT customer service number is 1-888-622-7328.

How do I apply for food stamps?
The easiest way to apply for food stamps is online.

If you’d rather apply in person, call your local office or the North Carolina SNAP hotline (1-800-662-7030) to find out how.

Learn if you’re eligible for food stamps.

How do I renew my food stamps?
To renew your food stamps, you have to reapply before your certification period (the amount of time you’ll get food stamps) ends.

For most North Carolina households without elderly (60+) or disabled people, that period is 6 months. For most North Carolina households with elderly (60+) or disabled people, that period is 12 months.

You’ll get a letter in the mail when it’s time to reapply. To be safe, you could also put a note in your calendar or wherever you keep important reminders.

You can renew online in some counties, while others require that you fill out a paper form.To find out the easiest way to renew in your county, call your caseworker, local office, or the North Carolina SNAP hotline: 1-800-662-7030.

When will I get my food stamps?
North Carolina sends out benefits from the 3rd to the 21st of every month, based on the last digit of your Social Security Number (SSN). Check the full schedule to find out which day you’ll get your food stamps.
How can I check my EBT balance online?
Download the Fresh EBT app to check your balance instantly. And while you’re there, explore opportunities to save and earn money.
What household changes do I have to report and when?

Most households only have to report these changes twice a year (at the halfway point and when you reapply):

  • When someone moves in or out of your household.
  • Financial changes like income, rent, savings, or child support.

Most households should report these 2 changes no more than 10 days after they happen:

  • When your household income goes over the monthly income limit. This could be because someone starts making more money or someone with income moves in.
  • When an adult without a disability or a child (what the government calls an ABAWD) who was working or training 20 hours/week starts working or training less.

If you are moving, you should report your new address ASAP to make sure you don’t miss any important letters.

You can report changes online in some counties, while others require that you fill out a paper form. To find out the easiest way to report changes in your county, call your caseworker, local office, or the North Carolina SNAP hotline: 1-800-662-7030.

How do I replace a lost or stolen EBT card?

If you can’t find your EBT card, call the North Carolina EBT hotline as soon as you can: 1-888-622-7328.

If someone manages to use your card, you may not be able to get those benefits back, so make sure you call right away!

What can I buy with EBT?

You can use food stamps to buy groceries, snacks, and seeds or plants that will produce food.

You can’t use food stamps to buy alcohol, tobacco products, vitamins, live animals, prepared foods, or any non-food household items.

WIC food packages typically include cereal, juice, eggs, milk, peanut butter, dried and canned beans, tofu, fruits and vegetables, and whole-wheat bread. WIC packages also include canned fish and cheese for breastfeeding moms, and baby food for babies.

Which stores and restaurants take EBT food stamps?
Download Fresh EBT to see nearby stores and farmer’s markets that take EBT. You don’t need an account to use the map.
North Carolina restaurants are not currently able to accept EBT.
Can I get any discounts with my EBT card?
Yes! Your EBT card can get you and your family discounted or free admission to museums, theme parks, zoos, aquariums, and more.
Can I get more food stamps if I’m pregnant or a new parent?

Once your child is born, your household size will increase. More household members = more benefits.

While you are pregnant, you can’t get more food stamps, but you can apply for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) benefits.

WIC provides food and resources for pregnant women, new parents, and children up to 5 years old.

My family can’t afford other basic needs besides food.

If you have a child who’s 18 or younger, you may qualify for cash assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

TANF provides monthly cash assistance to help families with children get by during tough times.

Am I eligible for other benefits?
Check out this benefit finder tool and find out.
Though the information on this page is government-supplied, Fresh EBT is not part of the government, so we can’t guarantee its accuracy. If you have questions about your specific case, contact your caseworker or local SNAP or human services office.