Monday, June 24, 2024

NCDHHS changes guidelines for FNS, WIC programs

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The state will undergo changes to two of its programs serving low-income residents.

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is updating its Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

Adjustments take place after the conclusion of the federal public health emergency on May 11, 2023.

More than 260,000 North Carolina residents are enrolled in WIC, with beneficiaries able to purchase specific items at WIC-authorized retailers. The items are limited to certain brands, sizes, and quantities, but recent supply chain disruptions loosened restrictions on certain dairy and whole grain products. These substitutions are available only until August 1, 2023.

Families can access their WIC lists with approved criteria for products through the BNFT app; A list of approved brands can also be found on the WIC Program Shopping Guide or scanned in store.

The state agency extended its FNS recertification time period for some eligible households from six to 12 months during the public health emergency. Those extensions have ended, and all households will now have to recertify every six months to continue receiving benefits. Beneficiaries will receive specific information in the mail regarding submission dates.

Overpayments will need to be repaid by recipients of FNS through a payment plan with their local department of social services.

About 1.6 million NC residents are beneficiaries of FNS, with changes expected to affect college students, able-bodied adults without dependents, and individuals with Class H or I felony convictions.

College students who were ruled eligible for FNS, by completing the free application for Federal Student Aid with an estimated family contribution of $0, will no longer be able to receive benefits, dependent on the students’ recertification. 

ABAWD recipients, those between 18-49 years old, mentally and physically capable of employment with no responsibility to a minor, will receive only three months of FNS benefits within a three-year period unless exemptions or work requirements are met.

Individuals with Class H and I felonies for controlled substance abuse are required to complete the assessment to be eligible for recertification.  

For more information about the FNS program, visit To apply for benefits online, visit  To learn more about additional food resources, visit

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