Changes are coming for those receiving food and nutrition benefits or Medicaid throughout the pandemic.
Households that receive Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) benefits will see a reduction in monthly payments beginning today, March 1, as the COVID-19 emergency allotments come to an end. The extra funds known as emergency SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) payments, are often referred to as food stamps.
These changes also come at the same time that Medicaid beneficiaries will need to begin to renew their benefits for the first time since 2020.
“We know these changes and process updates could be confusing and have a significant impact on households who benefit from these services, especially during a time when food costs are so high,” said Wake County Commissioner Cheryl Stallings. “Wake County is committed to ensuring those who need assistance, or want to learn more about their options, have multiple resources available to them.”
Food and Nutrition Benefits Ending
As part of the COVID-19 public health emergency, families enrolled in the FNS program in Wake County have been receiving at least $95 additional funds per month since March 2020. With the end of emergency allocations, the average FNS benefit per person will decrease from $8.12 per day to $5.45 per day.
Residents will receive their updated, regular monthly benefit amounts through the state beginning this month based on their current eligibility, income, household size and other federal eligibility requirements. Recipients can view their FNS benefit amount online anytime at ebtedge.com and learn how their payments will change.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and Wake County Social Services encourages families to keep their FNS information up to date to ensure they receive the most financial assistance they are eligible for. Those in need of additional food assistance can find help at wake.gov/foodsecurity or ncdhhs.gov/foodresources.
Also, during the three-year COVID-19 public health emergency, the federal government did not require people to renew or update their benefit info, the benefits simply rolled over each year. That is coming to an end for everyone on Medicaid.
In Wake County, this means more than 200,000 people currently enrolled in Medicaid will need to update and renew their benefits.
Medicaid renewal dates are staggered throughout the year. Starting two months before benefit expirations, Wake County staff will reach out to beneficiaries about their need to re-certify their eligibility. For example, if your benefits expire in June, your case will be reviewed in April. If your expiration is in July, a staff person will reach out in May.
“This Medicaid renewal process begins soon, so it’s so extremely important that people watch their mailboxes, contact their caseworker and make sure their account is up to date,” said Wake County Economic Benefits Assistant Division Director Kathryn Thompson. “Doing so will ensure all important factors are in their file when it it’s time to renew and prevent someone who is eligible for Medicaid from losing their coverage.”
To help avoid incorrect information being reported, all information should be up to date such as:
- Contact info
- Mailing address
- Household size and income
- Employment status
NC Medicaid has launched a new resource webpage to help provide guidance on preparing for renewals, including what actions can be taken immediately and what beneficiaries can be on the lookout for.
Households who become ineligible for Medicaid coverage can explore other no- to low-cost health insurance plans through the federal marketplace at healthcare.gov.
Wake County residents enrolled in the FNS Program or Medicaid can easily report changes online. They can also contact county staff with questions and information Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m., at 919-212-7000 or through email: