NC JUSTICE - Rule changes are putting SNAP at Risk


Even when you have a steady job, it can be tough to put enough food on the table. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as FNS or food stamps) is the nation’s best anti-hunger tool. It helps keep food on the table and in fridges so that children, families, and vulnerable adults do not go hungry.

With the increase in the kind of jobs that don’t pay enough to afford the basics, it can be tough to put enough food on the table even when you have a steady job. In 2015, SNAP reached 1.6 million North Carolinians, targeting the most vulnerable folks to help ensure that older adults, veterans, and children get enough to eat each day. SNAP benefits help to stimulate the state’s economy too, pumping upward of $2 billion into the economy. On average, from 2011 to 2014, SNAP benefits lifted 175,000 North Carolinians, including 81,000 children, out of poverty.

Despite its success, lawmakers limited access to SNAP and are considering harsh eligibility changes.

  • State lawmakers also considered eliminating a policy that allows some North Carolina families with modest assets and low incomes—but high expenses such as child care, rent, and utilities—to be eligible for SNAP. This federal policy, known as categorical eligibility, makes sense because it enhances efficiency, saves North Carolina money, and helps at least 133,000 low-income people become eligible for food aid. Learn more about the proposal lawmakers considered here. Learn more about the proposal lawmakers considered here.
  • State lawmakers chose to limit access to food assistance to some of North Carolina’s poorest adults, who are already living on the edge. They voluntarily reinstated a harsh federal law requiring a three-month time limit on SNAP for nondisabled, childless adults statewide, even though part of the state could have been exempt. Up to 100,000 people may be denied the help they need to put food on the table over the course of 2016. Learn more here.
  • State lawmakers considered a bill in 2016 to increase the disqualification periods to the maximum level allowed under federal law for SNAP recipients that are not in compliance with work requirements. The reality is that 4 out of 5 SNAP participants are working or not expected to work and work rates are high among SNAP households that can work. Learn more here.

Voices—Tell your Story

Share your story about how SNAP helps people buy groceries, avoid hunger, and stretch budgets so they can afford the basics. We hope that your story will help protect SNAP from future cuts that will hurt people doing their best to get by.

Learn more in this flyer and download a postcard by clicking one of the images above. You can email the filled out postcard to or mail it to Brian Kennedy, NC Justice Center, 224 S. Dawson Street, Raleigh, NC.

There is also an opportunity to share your story through video! For video, please call 919-856-2153.

Additional Resources