In 1996, the federal government passed a law that bans people with a drug-related felony conviction from receiving food assistance, formally known as Supplemental Nutritional Assistance (SNAP), and cash assistance, formally know as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), for life. The federal law allows states to opt out of the ban to ensure greater food access.  
North Carolina has partially opted out of the ban. People with Class H and Class I felony drug convictions in North Carolina are barred access to TANF and SNAP benefits for a minimum of six months. 1 In order to regain eligibility, they must comply with certain requirements, including drug treatment. 2 People with felony drug convictions Class G and above face a lifetime ban to SNAP and TANF benefits. 3

Download the Snap Felony Ban One Pager


The North Carolina legislature should completely opt out of the federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act:

  • The ban has a disparate effect on women, children, and communities of color.
  • Many states have completely opted out of the Ban.
  • The Ban is not an effective deterrent to drug use.
  • The Ban exacerbates food insecurity in NC.


  1. N.C.G.S. § 108A-25.2.
  2. Id.
  3. Id.