North Carolina participants in the federal Food and Nutrition Services program will receive a permanent 25% increase in their benefits beginning Oct. 1, the state Department of Health and Human Services said Friday.
More than 1.6 million North Carolinians benefit from the program.
The increase on the benefits, also known as food stamps, is the result of a congressionally mandated re-evaluation to determine whether it reflects the current cost of a nutritionally adequate diet.
DHHS said it is the largest benefit increase in the program’s history, with the average monthly per-person benefit rising from $121 to $157.
The amount was last revised in 2006.
However, there has been a temporary 15% increase in benefits funded through the federal Emergency Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020. That 15% increase expires Thursday.
The program is designed to address food insecurity, particularly involving children.
DHHS said that children “are particularly susceptible to the negative impacts of a lack of access to healthy food because their brains and bodies are still developing.”
“Having enough nutritious food every day is an essential part of health and well-being,” said Gale Perry, DHHS’s chief deputy secretary for opportunity and well-being.
“This will help hundreds of thousands of North Carolina families — many with young children — keep nutritious food on the table.”
For more information, go to www.nc dhhs.gov/assistance/low-income- services/food-nutrition-services-food-stamps. North Carolina individuals and families can apply at epass.nc.gov.
Food and Nutrition Services is a federal food-assistance program that provides low-income families the food they need for a nutritionally adequate diet. Benefits are issued via Electronic Benefit Transfer cards.
Recipients can find out the amount of their benefits by going to www.ebtedge.com, downloading the ebtEDGE mobile app or calling 888-622-7328 on the day they normally receive benefits.