Food and Nutrition Services Change: October 2021


Almost all Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) households, known as SNAP nationwide, saw a modest increase in their FNS benefits on October 1, 2021—generally between $12 to $16 per person per month. These changes were made automatically; households did not need to take any action. For more information on these changes, visit: SNAP Benefit Changes.

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). These supplements are added to households’ EBT cards later in the month than their regular monthly allotment. Households 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. 

What happens after the Emergency Allotments ends?

The total amount of FNS benefits you receive each month 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. In general, your monthly FNS benefit amount may change based on your household’s circumstances, such as your income, the number of people in your household, and certain expenses you pay for.

You should continue reporting changes in your household circumstances to your local Department of Social Services (DSS).  

Are there any other changes in place due to COVID-19 pandemic?

Many temporary changes were put in place for FNS in response to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. To list a few (among others):

  • North Carolina has temporarily paused collection of overpayments. This suspension is currently in place through June 2022.
  • Work requirements for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents
  • (ABAWD) participating in the Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) program are partially and temporarily suspended.  FNS eligibility is expanded for certain college students who meet specific criteria.
  • Extensions of certain certification periods and waivers of certain interview requirements. Note: if you receive a recertification packet in the mail you should complete it and return it to DSS. You should also continue to update DSS with changes to your household circumstances as usual.

Why did FNS benefits increase in October 2021?

Almost all FNS households saw 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 SizeOct 2021-Sept 2022 Maximum FNS Benefit Per Revised TFP
The new minimum for 1- or 2- person households starting October 1, 2021 will be $20

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, including Intentional Program Violations (IPVs), Inadvertent Household Errors (IHEs), and Agency Errors (AEs)
  • Disputing incorrect calculations of overpayment amounts or monthly benefit levels

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.