Food and Nutrition Services Change: October 2021

Almost all Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) households, known as SNAP nationwide, will see a modest increase in their FNS benefits starting October 1, 2021—generally between $12 to $16 per person per month. The exact amount for individual households may be different.  These changes will be made automatically by North Carolina Department of Social Services; you do not need to take any action.   

Why are FNS benefits increasing?

Almost all FNS households will see a modest increase in their FNS benefits for two reasons starting October 1, 2021: 

  1.  USDA recently re-evaluated the “Thrifty Food Plan (TFP)”, which is used to set FNS benefits.  The changes to the TFP reflect the current cost of a nutritionally adequate diet that households can purchase and prepare.  Congress directed the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to update the TFP, resulting in USDA increasing the purchasing power of FNS benefits for the first time since 1975.  As a result, maximum FNS benefits will be 21% higher than in prior years. 
  1. However, this change comes into effect at the same time a pandemic-related 15% increase in FNS benefits in place since January will come to an end on September 30, 2021. 

The net difference in these two changes will result in a modest increase for almost all FNS households of $12 to $16 per person per month. 

How much will my FNS benefits increase?

The table below shows maximum FNS benefit amounts for households under the prior 15% pandemic related boost (ending September 30, 2021) and what the new adjusted maximum benefit will be starting October 2021: 

Household SizeJan-Sept 2021 Maximum FNS Benefit with 15% BoostOct 2021-Sept 2022 Maximum FNS Benefit Per Revised TFP
1$234$250
2$430$459
3$616$658
4$782$835
The new minimum for 1- or 2- person households starting October 1, 2021 will be $20

When will my benefits change?

Households will see a modest increase in their monthly benefit in October 2021. For now, North Carolina is still providing monthly pandemic-related Emergency Allotments to give all FNS households the maximum allotment for their household size (or a supplement of up to $95 if they are already receiving the maximum or close to the maximum). Households that are not eligible to receive the maximum allotment for their household size without this supplement will see a decrease in their total monthly benefits when the temporary pandemic-related Emergency Allotments end in North Carolina.  It is not yet known when these Emergency Allotments will end. 

Are these changes permanent?

Yes, the increase to the non-pandemic FNS benefit amounts is permanent. In general, your FNS benefit amount may change based on your household’s circumstances. Additionally, your benefit allotment amount will change when North Carolina stops issuing Emergency Allotments (the supplemental benefits up to the maximum for each household size).  It is not yet known when these Emergency Allotments will end. You should continue reporting changes in your household circumstances to your local Department of Social Services.  

For more information, visit: SNAP Benefit Changes

How can Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy help?

Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy fights to help families put food on the table and avoid food insecurity. We can help by:

  • Providing representation in appeals of overpayment claims, such as Intentional Program Violations (IPVs)
  • Disputing incorrect calculations of overpayment amounts or monthly benefit levels
  • Offering information and assistance to families having trouble accessing P-EBT (benefits to replace free or reduced-price meals for children whose schools are operating virtually or at reduced capacity due to the pandemic)

Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy also advocates for policies at the state and federal level that promote equity in and improved access to food support programs and resources.