USDA: North Carolina SNAP participants can buy hot food |

USDA: North Carolina SNAP participants can buy hot food

The Agriculture Department announced Tuesday that it had approved a waiver that will allow participants in the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in North Carolina to buy hot foods with their benefits through Oct. 31.

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue emphasized the importance of the waiver, noting that many North Carolina residents evacuated to shelters cannot store food and are lacking access to cooking facilities as a result.

“As the state of North Carolina works to recover from this storm, USDA stands ready to provide common-sense flexibilities to help them meet the needs of their citizens,” Perdue said.

Under normal circumstances, Perdue explained, hot foods and foods ready for immediate consumption cannot be purchased using SNAP benefits. Hot foods include items sold at authorized SNAP retailers that are hot at the point of sale. The waiver addresses the inability of those SNAP participants affected by the disaster to prepare food at home. SNAP-authorized retailers may need 24 to 36 hours to be ready to accept SNAP benefits for hot foods due to programming changes that may be required at their stores.

USDA also approved a waiver to allow extended time for SNAP participants to submit claims for food lost in the disaster. Affected households in North Carolina now have until October 15 to report food losses and request replacement benefits so they can purchase food to make up for what was lost in the storm.

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