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Food Assistance

The Food Assistance 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 assistance: eligibility criteria will be discussed during the interview process. Applications for Food Assistance are taken Monday through Friday from of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Department of Social Services, 1200 Spartanburg Highway, Suite 300, Hendersonville, NC  28792.  If you are disabled or elderly you may have someone you trust to apply on your behalf, or you may call our office at 828-697-5500 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. Authorized Representative Form

Forms that are needed to begin the application process are: Application Form

The information needed to determine eligibility is:

  • 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
  • Verification of Utility Expenses (electric bill, water bill, telephone bill, etc.)
  • Information regarding all resources (bank accounts, 401-K, vehicles, burial plots, etc.)
  • 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 three main areas of eligibility are household size, resources and household income. Once the caseworker has determined that the household meets each of these eligibility factors, the shelter and utility expenses will be considered. Other deductions that maybe allowed are childcare expenses, legally ordered child support payments and medical deductions.

people (12K)In an effort to increase service delivery and access to our programs, the Department of Social Services is pleased to offer this screening tool. You understand that completing this questionnaire 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 Assistance caseworker. Click here for screening tool.

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.

Paper stamps or food coupons are no longer issued in North Carolina. In September 1998: Henderson County began using 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 purchase food at any authorized grocery store. Once a purchase has been made the amount of the purchase is automatically deducted from their account and the remaining balance is shown on the bottom of their receipt. The 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 be able to shop for them. Authorized Representative Form

Households CAN use food assistance benefits to buy:

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

Households CANNOT use food stamp benefits to buy:

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