If you are struggling to afford groceries on a monthly basis, you may be wondering how to qualify for food stamps in New York. At the state level, food stamps are administered through the Department of Social Services (DSS). However, the department is still required to follow the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines for eligibility.
The main criteria for food stamps eligibility is the total income earned by the members of a household. In order to qualify, the household must meet both gross and net monthly income limits.
Furthermore, additional eligibility requirements may also apply, such as one’s citizenship and residency in the U.S. Thus, it is important for applicants to accurately report the required information on their applications in order to receive the correct amount of benefits. Read on to learn more about food stamp eligibility in New York.
Citizenship and Residency Requirements for SNAP in New York
In order to qualify for food stamps, you must be able to prove your U.S. citizenship or acceptable immigration status. This means that individuals who do not hold proper immigration documentation are ineligible to receive SNAP benefits.
Additionally, non-citizens may need to meet additional requirements in order to have full SNAP eligibility. In general, non-citizens must meet one of the following requirements:
- Have lived in the U.S. for at least five years.
- Be younger than 18 years of age.
- Be an asylee or refugee.
- Already receive assistance for a disability.
Keep in mind that certain members of a household may be eligible for assistance, while others are not. For example, a parent may have children who meet NY food stamps eligibility, while not being eligible him or herself. In this case, the parent may still apply for food stamps on the children’s behalf. For more information about the requirements for food stamps, download our free guide.
What are the SNAP income guidelines in New York?
Your household size and income are two of the main criteria in determining eligibility for food stamps. In general, the SNAP income guidelines in New York are determined by the national federal poverty level (FPL) according to the size of each household.
As a general rule, a household is required to meet both gross and net monthly income requirements for food stamps. By definition, gross monthly income includes all of a household’s funds for a month before anything is deducted. Alternatively, net income refers to the income a family has left over after taxes and certain allowable expenses are deducted.
In order to help you determine whether or not your household falls within the guidelines for SNAP eligibility based on income, you may consider using a SNAP calculator. This tool is available online and can help estimate whether or not you may receive assistance. To use the calculator, you will need to provide information about your household’s demographics, income level and expenses.
While most households need to meet both of the food stamp income guidelines, households that include a senior or a person with a disability are only required to meet the net income criteria. For more information on SNAP income guidelines, download our free guide.
Other Important Food Stamps Qualifications in New York
There are specific food stamp qualifications for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs). Under federal law, all ABAWDs must complete at least 20 hours of work per week or spend an equivalent amount of time in a work training program. Additionally, these applicants may not:
- Decline a job offer if they do not have one.
- Quit an existing job.
- Reduce hours at work.
- Refuse to register for work.
An ABAWD is any adult between 18 and 50 years of age who does not meet certain exemptions. These exemptions include being:
- Declared mentally or physically unfit for employment.
- Responsible for the care of a child.
- Responsible for the care of an incapacitated household member.
Any ABAWD who does not comply with the work requirements will not have full food stamp eligibility in New York. Instead, he or she will only qualify to receive benefits for 3 months during a 36-month period.
How do you maintain your food stamps in New York?
After you are declared eligible for benefits, you will need to take certain steps to maintain the proper criteria. This typically includes notifying the Department of Social Services of any changes that happen to your household, which may be related to income or expenses. Moreover, you will need to notify the department if you have any change of employment or household composition, which may impact your SNAP eligibility.
Bear in mind that, as you and the other members of your household begin to work more, you will likely begin to earn more income. In this case, you may find that the amount of benefits you are eligible for decreases as your income increases. Thus, note that the Department of Social Services will adjust your monthly allotment accordingly.
It is important that you remain honest on your SNAP application, as well as when you update the DSS about changes to your household. Lying about your food stamp qualifications is a crime. Being found guilty of benefits fraud may result in a loss of food stamps eligibility in New York, as well as fines and jail time.