Like most states, North Carolina distributes its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits according to the same schedule every month, including December 2022. Benefits are paid between the 3rd and the 21st of the month, based on the last digit of your Social Security number.
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SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, is a federal program that provides food-purchasing assistance to low-income households. Although it is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the program is administered at the state level.
North Carolina's SNAP program - which is referred to as Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) - is administered by the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHSS). SNAP benefits are deposited into North Carolina Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards.
To find out where you can use your SNAP benefits, visit the USDA's SNAP Retailer Locator. Once there, click "Enter the SNAP Retailer Locator" and enter your address.
SNAP benefits can be used to purchase the following food items:
Fruits and vegetables
Meat, poultry and fish
Breads and cereals
Snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages
Seeds and plants, which produce food for the household to eat.
Among the items you can't buy with SNAP are alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, vitamins, medicines, supplements, live animals, pet foods, cleaning supplies, paper products and cosmetics. In North Carolina, you also can't use SNAP to purchase hot meals.
How To Score EBT Discounts
SNAP benefits in North Carolina and elsewhere come with certain perks that go beyond purchasing food. Here are a few additional bargains you can get with your North Carolina EBT card:
Amazon Prime discount: Recipients of SNAP and SNAP EBT Cash benefits (or Medicaid benefits) can qualify to save 50% off their Prime membership. To see if you qualify, visit amazon.com/prime/qualify.
Museum discounts: Those receiving SNAP benefits can get free or reduced admission to hundreds of museums and arts groups throughout the U.S., including through the Museums for All program.
Farmer's markets: You can also use your SNAP EBT at participating farmers' markets to purchase fresh produce. The USDA's Food Nutrition Service (FNS) provides a monthly list of the names and locations of markets across the country that are currently authorized to accept SNAP benefits.
Internet and phone: Through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), eligible SNAP recipients in North Carolina could receive up to a $30 per month discount on internet service and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. SNAP households may also qualify for free or low-cost landline or cell phone service through the Federal Lifeline Program. Consult with your service provider for more information.
In North Carolina, there are three ways to apply for SNAP/FNS benefits:
Online with ePASS.
In person at your county Department of Social Services (DSS) office. It helps to fill out as much of the application as possible ahead of time.
SNAP benefits are deposited on the same day each month, even if it falls on a weekend or holiday. If you don't have a Social Security number, then benefits are paid out on the third day of each month.
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Here is the December 2022 SNAP payment schedule in North Carolina:
All SNAP recipients, including those in North Carolina, will get a financial boost thanks to a major cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for fiscal year 2023. The COLA kicked in starting Oct. 1, 2022 and will hike the maximum monthly benefit by 12.5%.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Food Stamps Schedule: North Carolina Benefits for December and Where To Get SNAP EBT Discounts