Emergency food benefits for North Carolina families — supplied through the federal Food and Nutrition Services due to the COVID-19 pandemic — are set to end in March 2023.
The allotments will cease due to the signing of the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act (2023) in December, which terminates the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program emergency allotments in all states after February.
Eligible households in North Carolina will revert to their regular pre-pandemic monthly allotments in March.
Since March 2020, North Carolina families in the Food and Nutrition Services program have been receiving at least $95 in extra food benefits monthly. Average daily benefits per person in the state will decrease from $8.12 to $5.45.
Nationally, the average cut in monthly allotments after termination will be about $80 per person, according to Madhu Vulimiri, the deputy director of the Division of Child and Family Well-Being at the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
Households with elderly or disabled individuals will face a deeper cut — about $110 per person, she said.
Families have also been assisted by other federal programs, such as the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer program for students who lost access to free and reduced meals during the pandemic, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children Nutrition for low-income pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as children below 5 years old.
But, according to Vulimiri, households in the state still face challenges putting nutritious food on the table.
“While the FNS emergency allotments are going to be ending, we know that the need is still there,” she said.