FNS card

The Facts and Myths about FNS (food stamps)

FNS stands for Food and Nutrition Services in the state of North Carolina. It is part of the federal SNAP program (formerly knows as food stamps). Low income families may qualify for FNS, then receive an EBT card like the one pictured. Families can then use the FNS card to shop directly from their regular grocery retailer.

The amount of funds available for use is deposited each month and is determined by a stringent financial need test when folks apply to receive FNS. Click Here to learn more about eligibility requirements . The funds in an FNS account are restricted to purchases of food items only and the FNS funds cannot be withdrawn as cash.

For an in depth look at FNS (SNAP) in North Carolina, Get the Facts Here .

For more information read SNAP Is Effective and Efficient by the non-partisan Center on Budget Policy and Priorities.

To better understand at how the Farm Bill relates to the nutrition safety net, read Everything You Need to Know About SNAP

Facts and Myths about FNS…

Whether you call it FNS, SNAP or food stamps, there is a lot of misinformation out there. Get informed.
FACT: The stigma associated with FNS is so great that many families will not seek assistance or will only do so by the time their family is in a devastating crisis.

Regular families in economic crisis – many that were recently middle class – are the people that receive benefits. Times are tough, together we can break the stigma. Let’s give struggling American families some dignity and spread the truth about food stamps.

Check out these FACTS and MYTHS:

MYTH: Most people are on food stamps for life.
FACT: The average length of time on food stamps is 8-10 months. (i)

MYTH: Benefits are too generous.
FACT: The average monthly SNAP benefit per person is $133.85, or less than $1.50 per person, per meal. The average SNAP household consists of 2.1 people with a gross monthly income of $744. (i)

MYTH: FNS is for lazy people.
FACT: 76% of SNAP households include a child, an elderly person, or a disabled person – the most vulnerable in our society. These households receive 83% of all SNAP benefits. (i) Many people qualifying families include full-time workers at low wage jobs.

MYTH: FNS recipients don’t work.
FACT: The overwhelming majority of SNAP recipients who can work do so. Almost 70 percent of SNAP recipients are not expected to work, primarily because they are children, elderly, or disabled. (ii) In North Carolina, almost 73% of all SNAP participants are in families with children. (iii)

Of households with children, almost 87% worked in the previous or following year of receiving and 60% worked while receiving SNAP. (ii)

MYTH: SNAP fraud and abuse is out of control.
FACT: SNAP has a strong record of program integrity. SNAP error rates are at a record low of 3.80% in FY2011. The SNAP accuracy rate of 96.2% (FY2011) is an all-time program high and is considerably higher than other major benefit programs. (i)

MYTH: SNAP is a drain on taxpayers.
FACT: $1 in SNAP benefits generates about $1.70 in localized economic activity. Overall SNAP pumped about $2.43 billion into North Carolina’s economy in 2012. (iii)

SNAP not only helps low-income people buy groceries, it frees up cash for other expenses, such as medical care, clothing, home repairs and childcare. That benefits local businesses and their employees, which boosts the economy as a whole.

MYTH: Participation in the program has ballooned in recent years, that proves it is being exploited and abused.
FACT: The food stamp program is designed to be responsive to economic downturns; it closely correlates to unemployment. The number of unemployed people increased by 94% from 2007 to 2011; SNAP participation increased by 70% during the same time period. The economy is slow to improve (even slower for Western North Carolina). As the economy recovers and people go back to work, SNAP participation and program costs, too, can be expected to decline. (i)

SNAP is responsive to changes in need, providing needed food assistance as families fall into economic hardship and then transitioning away as their financial situation stabilizes.

For a printable version fns-myths-and-facts.pdf

To learn even more Check Out this page from Feeding America .

SNAP participants in 2011
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