Can Convicted Felons Get Food Stamps in Nc

In North Carolina, convicted felons may be eligible for food stamps, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). However, there are some restrictions and conditions that apply. For instance, individuals convicted of drug trafficking or violent crimes may be ineligible for SNAP benefits. Additionally, convicted felons who are incarcerated or living in a halfway house or treatment facility are generally not eligible for food stamps. The specific rules and regulations regarding food stamp eligibility for convicted felons in North Carolina can be complex and may change over time, so it’s important to consult with the appropriate agencies or seek legal advice for the most up-to-date information.

Food Stamp Eligibility Criteria

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP or Food Stamps, is a federally funded assistance program that provides food assistance to eligible individuals and families. The eligibility criteria for SNAP are based on income and asset levels. Convicted felons may be eligible for SNAP benefits if they meet the other eligibility criteria.

Income Eligibility

  • To be eligible for SNAP benefits, an individual or household must have a gross income that is at or below 130% of the federal poverty level.
  • The federal poverty level is updated each year and varies depending on the size of the household.
  • In 2023, the gross income limit for a household of one is $1,348 per month or $16,176 per year.
  • For a household of two, the gross income limit is $1,817 per month or $21,796 per year.

Asset Eligibility

  • In addition to income eligibility, SNAP applicants must also meet asset limits.
  • For most households, the asset limit is $2,500 for individuals and $4,250 for couples.
  • However, certain assets are not counted towards the asset limit, such as the home in which the applicant lives, one vehicle, and retirement accounts.

Other Eligibility Requirements

  • In addition to income and asset eligibility, SNAP applicants must also meet other eligibility requirements, such as:
  • Citizenship status or legal U.S. residency
  • Work requirements for certain able-bodied adults without dependents
  • Student status requirements
SNAP Income Eligibility Limits for 2023
Household SizeGross Income Limit (per month)Gross Income Limit (per year)

Felony Disqualification

In North Carolina, individuals convicted of specific felonies are temporarily ineligible for food stamps (formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP) for various durations depending on the severity of their offense. This ineligibility is a consequence of Section 601 of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, which prohibits certain individuals convicted of drug-related felonies from receiving federal nutrition assistance, including SNAP benefits.

Ineligible Felonies

  • Cultivating, distributing, or possessing a controlled substance (excluding possession of a small amount of marijuana for personal use)
  • Conspiracy to commit any of the above offenses
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Selling, distributing, or manufacturing a controlled substance to a pregnant woman, a child under the age of 12, or someone who resides in public housing

Duration of Disqualification

The length of disqualification varies based on the severity of the felony conviction. For first-time offenders convicted of a non-violent drug felony, the disqualification is set at one year. However, subsequent convictions or involvement in more serious drug offenses, such as trafficking or distribution, may result in a disqualification lasting up to five years.

The table below summarizes the disqualification durations for various felony convictions:

Type of FelonyDisqualification Duration
First-time non-violent drug felony conviction1 year
Second non-violent drug felony conviction2 years
Third non-violent drug felony conviction or subsequent violent drug felony conviction5 years

Exceptions to the Disqualification

There are limited exceptions to the food stamp disqualification for convicted felons. Individuals convicted of a felony related to the possession of marijuana are generally not subject to this ineligibility. Additionally, those participating in a drug rehabilitation program or who are working towards completing their sentence may be eligible for SNAP benefits. Pregnant women, infants, and children under the age of 18 are also exempt from the disqualification.


In North Carolina, convicted felons facing temporary ineligibility for food stamps may seek guidance from legal aid organizations or consult with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to explore potential exceptions or available assistance programs. Despite the disqualification, individuals can still access other essential resources and support services, such as housing assistance and job training programs, to help them reintegrate into society and rebuild their lives.

Potential Waivers or Exceptions

In certain circumstances, convicted felons may be eligible for food stamps in North Carolina. Here are some potential waivers or exceptions:

  • Work Requirement Waiver: Individuals who are unable to work due to a disability or other qualifying condition may be granted a waiver from the work requirement.
  • Ex-Offender Employment Program: Non-violent felons who have completed the Ex-Offender Employment Program may be eligible for food stamps for up to 12 months after completing the program.
  • Disconnected Youth Program: Youth between the ages of 16 and 24 who have been convicted of a felony may be eligible for food stamps through the Disconnected Youth Program.

It is important to note that these waivers or exceptions may have specific requirements and eligibility criteria. Individuals who believe they may qualify for an exception should contact their local Department of Social Services for more information.

Additionally, North Carolina is one of several states that participate in the Food and Nutrition Service’s (FNS) Alternative Sanctions Project. This project allows states to impose alternative sanctions, such as nutrition education or community service, for certain non-violent drug-related felony convictions instead of disqualifying individuals from SNAP benefits.

Alternative Sanctions in North Carolina
OffenseAlternative Sanction
First-time possession of a controlled substanceNutrition education or community service
Possession of drug paraphernaliaNutrition education or community service
Possession with intent to sell or distribute a controlled substanceCommunity service and/or drug treatment program

For more information on the Alternative Sanctions Project in North Carolina, please visit the FNS website.

Can Convicted Felons Receive Food Stamps in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, convicted felons are not automatically barred from receiving food stamps. However, there are some restrictions in place. Generally, only those convicted of drug-related felonies are ineligible for food stamps. If you’re a convicted felon and not sure if you qualify for food stamps, you can contact the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services for more information.

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Provides monthly benefits to low-income individuals and families to purchase groceries.
  • WIC (Women, Infants, and Children): Provides nutritional assistance to pregnant women, infants, and children up to age five.
  • The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP): Provides emergency food supplies to individuals and families who are at risk of hunger.

Additional Resources for Food Assistance

If you’re a convicted felon and struggling to put food on the table, there are additional resources available. Some of these resources include:

Food banksNon-profit organizations that collect and distribute food to low-income individuals and families.No eligibility requirements.
Soup kitchensNon-profit organizations that provide free or low-cost meals to low-income individuals and families.No eligibility requirements.
Salvation ArmyProvides food assistance, including food stamps and emergency food boxes, to low-income individuals and families.Income and residency requirements may apply.

If you’re not sure where to find these resources, you can contact your local social services agency or the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Thanks a bunch for sticking with me through this article on whether convicted felons can receive food stamps in North Carolina. I hope you found the information helpful and informative. If you still have questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services or visit their website for more details. And don’t forget to drop by again soon for more insightful reads and engaging discussions. Until next time, keep on exploring and learning!