Food & Nutrition

Program Overview

Food and Nutrition Services (FNS), previously known as "food stamps," is Social Services' largest assistance program. Families and individuals may be eligible for FNS benefits and while FNS benefits are not time-limited, eligibility must be reviewed periodically. FNS benefit amounts are based on several factors including household composition, income, and household rent/utility costs. The purpose of Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) is to end hunger and improve nutrition and health. This federal food assistance program helps eligible low-income households buy the food they need for a nutritionally adequate diet. In North Carolina, monthly allotments of FNS benefits are issued via Electronic Benefit Transfer cards (EBT cards).

Food and Nutrition Services (Servicios de Alimentos y Nutrición) is an entitlement program, so all eligible individuals and households can receive assistance. Benefits may be used to purchase most foods at participating stores. They may not be used to purchase:

  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Paper Products
  • Pet Food
  • Soap Products
  • Tobacco

Name Change

Food Stamps = Food and Nutrition Services = Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

It has been years since this program was officially known as "food stamps." A large majority of people, however, a still know it by this name. In 2008, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the federal agency responsible for the administration of the program, officially changed the name to SNAP. North Carolina chose to continue to call the program Food and Nutrition Services. The program and the benefits are still the same, and no matter what it is called, the focus remains putting healthy food within reach of low income households.

Benefit Estimator

You can visit the NC ePASS for additional information on the benefit. One helpful link provided by the site is a Benefit Estimator. Your actual benefit can only be determined by a caseworker and you should not let an unfavorable estimate deter you from submitting an application. ePASS now includes an application that can be completed and submitted online.

How to Apply

Apply online or come to Social Services to apply because the day your application is received is your "eligibility date." You may also follow one of the links below to obtain and mail an application to Social Services; your eligibility date, however, is the date your completed and signed application is received. Please review our Applying for Assistance page for a list of items that may be needed to complete your application.

You may print, complete, and mail a Web Application (PDF) to:

Davidson County Social Services
P.O. Box 788
Lexington, NC 27293

You can also submit a request form if you have problems with the online application and would like a paper copy mailed to you.


Davidson County Social Services does not discriminate in the provision of services to all qualified persons.