Late last year, the State of North Carolina expanded its Medicaid program – adding a large number of newly eligible North Carolinians – and now it’s making sure that eligible veterans don’t get left out of the mix for benefits they may be entitled to.

Roughly 14,000 veterans across the state, along with their families, are likely eligible for the newly expanded Medicaid benefits, but may not know the other benefits they qualify for.  So now – in order to ensure that those veterans receive all the support they qualify for – the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) is working to 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 clients pay for groceries.

According to a Tuesday, March 26 press release the NCDHHS is working to identify veterans who could benefit from expanded Medicaid to make sure they are accessing all the programs they’re eligible for.

The state, working with its partner Benefits Data Trust, is reaching out this week by mail – as well as by phone and text message – to offer food and nutrition application assistance to veterans across the state who are enrolled in Medicaid but not yet enrolled in the Food and Nutrition Services program.

That program, now better known as “FNS” and once known as Food Stamps, helps eligible people and families with limited incomes supplement their budgets so they can buy food.

The benefits are provided on a special debit card, that can be used at food stores and many farmers markets across the state.

According to the US Government Accountability Office, participation in the state’s Food and Nutrition Services is estimated to be lower among eligible veterans when compared to other households nationally.

 The US Department of Agriculture, which administers the FNS program, designates veterans as a priority for state outreach efforts nationwide and it’s also urging other states to form partnerships to ensure eligible veterans are aware of the program and how to apply.

This week, NCDHHS Deputy Secretary for Opportunity and Well-Being Susan Osborne said that the state especially wants to see that this group gets the benefits they qualify for.

“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,” she said. “FNS benefits are a key resource that can improve their health and well-being and our veterans deserve this care from their communities and state.”

NCDHHS is sending out letters to North Carolina veterans who are likely eligible for – but who aren’t already enrolled in – the FNS program.  Those letters offer application assistance through the North Carolina Benefits Center.

There’s no cost to the veterans who call and apply for FNS benefits through the Center.

A 2023 report found 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 aren’t currently working due to of a disability.

If you’re a veteran who needs more information about the FNS program, visit

To apply for benefits online, visit

You can also apply in person at your county’s Department of Social Services or by filling out the paper application and mailing it to the social services department in your county.

For more information on FNS benefits, call (919) 527-5600.