NCDHHS: Connecting Eligible Veterans to Nutrition Benefits

Originally published by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services on March 26, 2024

RALEIGH - Approximately 14,000 North Carolina veterans and their families are likely eligible for the state’s newly expanded Medicaid benefits. To ensure North Carolina veterans receive the support they are eligible for, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services will help veterans who are newly eligible for Medicaid apply to Food and Nutrition Services (also known as food stamps or SNAP), a benefit program that helps pay for groceries.

NCDHHS is working to identify veterans who could benefit from this program to make sure enrollees are accessing all the programs they are eligible for. With its partner, Benefits Data Trust, NCDHHS will reach out this week by mail and text message to offer FNS application assistance to veterans in North Carolina who are enrolled in Medicaid but not yet enrolled in FNS.

"North Carolina’s military veterans have selflessly served their country and NCDHHS is committed to ensuring they have access to the basic necessity of food," said NCDHHS Deputy Secretary for Opportunity and Well-Being Susan Osborne. "FNS benefits are a key resource that can improve the health and well-being and our veterans deserve this care from their communities and state."

NCDHHS will send letters to North Carolina veterans who are likely eligible for but not enrolled in FNS, offering application assistance through the North Carolina Benefits Center. There is no cost to North Carolina veterans who call and apply for FNS benefits through the North Carolina Benefits Center. Veterans who are enrolled in Medicaid but not in FNS will receive a letter from NCDHHS that will provide a phone number to call to apply. 

Participation in North Carolina’s Food and Nutrition Services, or FNS, is estimated to be lower among eligible veterans compared to other households nationally, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers FNS, designates veterans as a priority for state outreach efforts nationwide and urges states to form partnerships to ensure eligible veterans are aware of the program and how to apply.   

A 2023 report showed that nationwide two groups of food insecure veterans are particularly less likely to participate in FNS than their non-veteran peers: older veterans and those who are not in the workforce because of a disability.

"Supporting North Carolina’s veterans and connecting them to services is at the heart of NC DMVA’s mission," said Lt. Gen. Walter E. Gaskin, USMC (Ret.), Secretary of the NC Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. "Assisting eligible veterans and their families to have access to FNS benefits and healthy food is a strong foundation for their health and success."

For more information about the FNS program, visit To apply for benefits online, visit People can also apply in person at your local Department of Social Services or by mail by filling out the paper application and mailing to the local DSS. For more information on FNS benefits, call (919) 527-5600.