Food & Nutrition Services

Food and Nutrition Services

The Food and Nutrition Services Program is designed to promote the general welfare and to safeguard the health and well-being of the nation's population by raising the levels of nutrition among low-income households.

Anyone may apply for Food and Nutrition Services. To apply for benefits and receive final determination of eligibility, you must complete an application and be interviewed by a Food and Nutrition Services caseworker.

Application Form

Household Information Form

Applications for Food and Nutrition Services are taken Monday through Friday from 8am-5pm at Catawba County Social Services (address and map located at left). Eligibility criteria will be discussed during the interview process.

If you are disabled or elderly, you may have someone you trust apply on your behalf or you may call our office at (828) 695-4419 for a telephone interview.

If you choose to ask someone to apply for you, you may complete the Designation of Authorized Representative form and have your representative bring it to the interview.

For more information about how to apply, visit the North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services’ Food Nutrition Services page.

Along with your application, you will need to bring the following information to your interview to help determine your eligibility for Food and Nutrition Services benefits:

  • Identification such as valid driver's license or ID card
  • Social Security Cards for all members of household included in Food Assistance Program
  • Verification of all income for members of household included in the Food Assistance Program
  • Verification of Rent or Mortgage Expenses
  • Proof of medical expenses for household members receiving Social Security Disability or age 60 and older

Additional information may be needed and will be discussed during the interview.

The two main areas considered to determine eligibility are household size and household income/resources. Once the caseworker has determined that the household meets these eligibility factors, the shelter and utility expenses will be considered. Other deductions that may be allowed are childcare expenses, legally ordered child support payments and medical deductions.

Are you eligible?

In an effort to increase service delivery and access to our programs, Social Services is pleased to offer this screening tool. By completing this questionnaire, you understand that it provides only a preliminary screening and does not guarantee actual eligibility for assistance. To apply for benefits and receive final determination, you must complete an application and be interviewed by a Food and Nutrition Services caseworker.

Paper stamps or food coupons are no longer issued in North Carolina. We now use Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) to issue benefits to eligible households. Once a household has been determined eligible, they will receive an EBT card through the mail. Only one card is issued per family. The card then needs to be activated by calling 1-888-622-7328 and issuing the EBT card a four-digit pin number that the household member chooses. The household may then use the card to purchase eligible foods at any authorized grocery store.

Once a purchase has been made, the amount of the purchase is automatically deducted from the account and the remaining balance is shown on the bottom of the receipt. Monthly benefits are added to the account on the same day each month.

Recipients who are handicapped or physically unable to shop for themselves can name someone they trust as an authorized representative. The representative will get an EBT card that has full access to the recipient's account and will be able to use this card to shop for them. To designate an authorized representative, complete the form below.

Authorized Representative Form

Households CAN use food assistance benefits to buy:

  • Foods for the household to eat, such as:
    • breads and cereals
    • fruits and vegetables
    • meats, fish and poultry; and
    • dairy products
  • Seeds and plants which produce food for the household to eat

Households CANNOT use food stamp benefits to buy:

  • Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco
  • Any nonfood items, such as:
    • pet foods;
    • soaps, paper products; and
    • household supplies
  • Vitamins and medicines
  • Food that will be eaten in the store
  • Hot foods

All applicants are screened for emergency benefits during the interview process. An emergency is determined by assessing the household's situation for the entire month the application was submitted. If the household is determined in need of emergency benefits, they will receive their initial benefit amount within 7 days. If a household is determined ineligible for emergency benefits, they will receive their benefits within 30 days of the date of application.