The New York Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), often referred to as food stamps, is designed to help low-income families afford groceries on a monthly basis. At the state level, the program is administered by the Department of Social Services. At the federal level, the SNAP program is overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
In order to qualify for SNAP assistance, you must fall within a certain income level and provide information about your household’s demographics and expenses. Once you begin the application process, you will also be required to undergo an interview that will confirm the personal details you have provided.
If you are approved, you will receive benefits on an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card, which can be used the same way as you would a debit card. Read on for more information about SNAP benefits in New York.
Learn About New York Food Stamps Requirements
The primary eligibility requirement for food stamps in New York is related to income levels. In order to qualify, your household will need to meet gross and net monthly income requirements. By definition, gross monthly income is the amount of money you make before taxes are deducted. Alternatively, net monthly income relates to what you earn after taxes and certain expenses are deducted.
Gross and net monthly SNAP income guidelines are determined based on the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and the size and composition of each household. In general, most households will need to meet both limits in order to qualify. However, households that include a senior or a person with a disability only need to meet net income limits.
In addition to income criteria, New York food stamp qualifications also consider the citizenship and/or residency status of each applicant. In order to be eligible for food stamps, you must either be a U.S. citizen or maintain an acceptable legal presence in the U.S. As a non-citizen, there may be additional requirements that need to be met for SNAP eligibility. An applicant who is not a citizen must meet one of the following criteria:
- 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.
Finally, in order to maintain food stamps eligibility, all able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) will be required to meet specific work requirements. ABAWDs include any adults in the household between 18 and 50 years of age who do not meet any of the necessary employment exemptions. Download our free guide to learn more information on the requirements for food stamps.
How to Apply for Food Stamps in New York
You may submit your food stamp application in one of three ways:
- In person
- By mail
If you choose to apply for food stamps online, you will need to create an account on the state’s online system. Once you do, you will be able to save and return to your application at any time. You will also be able to see the status of your application after submitting it.
If you choose to apply by mail or in person, be sure to complete the correct food stamp application form. In any case, in order to apply for food stamps, you will generally need to provide:
- Your name and contact information.
- Demographic information for each member of your household.
- Social Security numbers (SSNs) or Alien Registration Numbers (A-numbers) for each member of the household.
- Proof of your household income.
- Proof of household expenses.
- List of household resources.
After you submit your food stamp application, you will be contacted for a mandatory SNAP interview. If you are unable to attend the interview in person due to work reasons, you may choose to have a phone interview. During the interview, you must answer specific questions about your household situation.
Then, after each step of the application is complete, your case will be fully processed and you will begin to receive benefits. It may take up to 30 days for your application to be fully processed, starting from the date when you filed it. Download our free guide to obtain more information on the SNAP application process.
Learn About SNAP Benefits in New York
Overall, SNAP benefits are distributed through electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards. You may use these cards in the same way that you would use a debit card at the cash register. Each month, your card will be reloaded with more funds.
It is important to note that only certain items will be eligible for purchase under the SNAP program. Namely, you will be able to purchase staple and accessory food items. Staple food items are those that make up the majority of a healthy diet, such as:
- Meat, poultry and fish
- Bread and cereal
- Dairy products
- Fruits and vegetables
You may purchase these items fresh or in a frozen/packaged form. Accessory food items include snacks, desserts, cooking ingredients, seasonings and other consumable items. Finally, you may also purchase plants and seeds, but they must be used to produce food for the household.
Keep in mind that there are also items you may not purchase using food stamp benefits in New York. They include:
- Non-food items such as pet food or household supplies.
- Alcohol and tobacco products.
- Live animals.
- Supplements, vitamins and medicines.
- Prepared food or hot food.
Name: New York State SNAP Assistance
Phone Number: (800) 342-3009
Address: 40 North Pearl Street, Albany, NY 12243
Commissioner: Wendy DeMarco