Food and Nutrition Services Q 



Q. What are food stamps?

Food stamps are coupons you use like money to buy food.

Q. Why do you need food stamps?
A. Food stamps are a way to get through tough times. They help you get back on your feet. Food stamps are a bridge to better times.

Q. Who can get food stamps?
A. You can get food stamps if:

�         You are a U.S. citizen;

�         You are a qualified alien who is admitted lawfully into the U.S.;

�         You have no or low income;

�         You are on public assistance;

�         You are retired;

�         You are disabled; or

�         You are homeless;

AND:

�         You are not trying to avoid a felony prosecution;

�         You are not fleeing from law enforcement;

�         You are not trying to avoid jail after conviction of a felony; and

�         You are not in violation of the conditions of probation or parole.

Q. How do you get food stamps?
A. You fill out an application at our Social Services office. If you are unable to come in you can have an authorized representative come in and apply for you.  You can also fill out an application and return it via mail at the following address:  319 N. Graham-Hopedale Rd, Suite C, Burlington, NC 27217.  You or your authorized representative person must come to our office to complete the interview.

Q. What’s the application like?
A. It asks:

�         Where do you live?

�         How much money do you earn?

�         How much money do you have in the bank?

�         Do you have a car?

�         Who lives with you?

�         What other money do you get?

�         What bills do you have to pay every month?

�         Do you own land?

To fill out your application you will need to have:

�         Social Security numbers for everyone in your home who has one

�         ID which shows your name and address (driver’s license or mail)

�         Bills showing how much you pay for rent, mortgage, gas, lights, water, telephone

�         Proof of the money you get every month (pay stubs from your job, Social Security, public assistance, child support)

�         Proof of the money you have in the bank (bank statement)

�         Proof of what you pay someone to keep your children while you work

Q. What can you buy with food stamps?
A: You can buy:

�         Milk and other dairy products

�         Meat, fish, and poultry

�         Cereals and ingredients used for baking

�         Vegetables and fruit

�         Cold deli items, such as sandwiches and salads which are intended to be eaten at home

�         Ice and water for human consumption

�         Specialty food such as dietetic and diabetic foods, infant formulas and “health food” items

�         Garden seeds and plants for growing at home

�         Pectin used in canning

�         Deposits on returnable bottles and other returnable containers

�         Hot prepared meals served by restaurants and non-profit agencies authorized by USDA to accept food stamps

What your food stamps will not buy:

�         Non-food items

�         Alcoholic beverages

�         Tobacco and tobacco products such as cigars, cigarettes, snuff, and chewing tobacco

�         Drug store medication such as aspirin, antacids, and cough drops

�         Food preservation equipment such as canning jars and freezer containers

�         Foods not intended to be eaten by people such as dog and cat food, bird seed

�         Vitamins and minerals in tablet, capsule, powder, or liquid form

�         Food which is to be heated in the store

Q.  When will my food stamp benefits go into my account?

A.  Your benefits will be available after 6:00 a.m. on the same day each month according to the last digit of the head of household’s Social Security Number, even if that day is on a weekend or a holiday.


Food Stamps are mailed from Raleigh, not the agency. They are mailed starting on or around the fifth working day of each month, and are mailed through the twenty-first.


Q.  I have received my EBT card.  How can I get it activated?

A.  You can call customer service at 1-888-672-7328.  A recorded message with instructions will ask you to enter the card number, then your social security number then 4 digits to be used as your pin number (your choice).  At this time, the procedure for individuals without a social security number is to use their birth date.

Q.  What is the EBT customer service number?

A.  The toll free number is 1-888-622-7328 and they are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Q.  When will my application for Food Stamps be completed?

A.  Emergency benefits must be completed within 7 days from your date of application. Applications that do not meet emergency criteria must be completed within 30 days from your date of application.


Q. What is Emergency Service?
A. Emergency service is a special application processing method designed to provide benefits to a food stamp unit within seven calendar days from the date of application. Non-emergency service food stamp applications are processed within 30 days


Q.  When will I receive my EBT card?

A.  EBT cards should be received within 3-5 days after your Food Stamp case is completed.


Q.  Will I receive a new EBT card each month?

A.  No. You use the same card each month. If your benefits terminate, you should keep your card. If you reapply, you may have your benefits deposited into the old EBT account. Be sure to let your caseworker know that you still have an EBT card. You can even keep your same pin number.


Q.  What do I do if I have a change in my situation?

A.  Your caseworker will review what changes are required to be reported when you apply.


Q.  What happens if I use the wrong pin number when I am shopping?

A.  If you try to use the wrong pin number 4 times in a row your EBT card will not work anymore that day. You will have to wait until after 12:01am the next day to try again.


Q.  How can I check my balance on my EBT card?

A.  Call the customer service line at 1-888-622-7328. The number can be located on the back of your card. Any remaining balance at the end of the month is rolled over into the next month.


Q.  Why didn�t I get the full benefits for the month I applied initially?

A.  Food Stamp benefits are prorated for the month of application based on your date of application. For example, if you apply on 12/8/06, you would receive benefits from 12/8/06 through 12/31/06 if eligible.


Q.  How is the amount of my Food Stamp benefits determined?

A.  The amount of Food Stamp benefits you may receive are determined by the number of people in the household, the amount of income received by the people in the household, the household�s shelter expenses and the amount of medical expenses you have to pay that are not reimbursed (persons 60 or older or disabled).


Q.  What should I do if I am unable to get to your office?

A.  If you are unable to come in you can have an authorized representative come in and apply for you.  You can also fill out an application and return it via mail at the following address:  319 N. Graham-Hopedale Rd, Suite C, Burlington, NC 27217.  You or your authorized representative person must come to our office to complete the interview.