SALISBURY – The US Department of Agriculture has approved the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to allow online shopping flexibility for participants in food and nutrition services.
Participants will be able to shop online through Walmart and Amazon using their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards. The flexibility aims to promote social distancing and help families overcome barriers to transportation and mobility.
The flexibility of online shopping will continue after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The announcement was one of multiple in a press release from the Rowan County Social Services Department.
The press release says North Carolina has also been approved for the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Program, which provides electronic benefits to families in North Carolina whose children have access to free and reduced lunches at school. Families will not need to register for the program. Eligible families already receiving food and nutrition service benefits will receive an additional benefit on their existing EBT card. And eligible families who are not yet registered with the SNSF will receive a new EBT card by post in the coming weeks, according to a press release. Families who receive a new EBT card will receive a letter from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services in the mail explaining how to activate and use their card.
All able-bodied adults without dependents will be exempt from state work requirements for SNSF benefits for any month received between April 1 and one month after the declaration of the COVID-19 public health emergency is lifted, according to a press release.
For food and nutrition service applicants who have committed “H” or “I” controlled substance offenses in North Carolina, the requirements to pass an assessment with area mental health do not have been lifted. However, he was temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Assessments will be required during their next recertification process. Applicants will still be required to meet their minimum six-month disqualification period, according to a press release.
Work First Cash Assistance termination cases are also temporarily suspended from March 31 through the declaration of emergency.
Applicants and beneficiaries can apply for Medicaid and food and nutrition services through the ePASS system. Online applications are available for Food and Nutrition Services (formerly Food Stamps) as well as Medical Assistance (Medicaid and NC Health Choice or CHIP). To apply, visit epass.nc.gov/CitizenPortal/application.do.
In its press release, the Rowan County Social Services Department said it remains operational during this healthcare crisis.
The following programs are mandatory services that must continue:
• Medicaid requests and determinations
• Applications and determinations of food and nutrition services
• Work First Family Assistance requests and recertifications
• Adult services including special assistance, APS and guardianship
• Child support
• Energy programs
• Non-urgent Medicaid transport
• Children’s services including CPS, foster care, home care and adoptions
• Subsidized childcare
• Refugee assistance