How to Apply for Food Stamps In New York

If you are getting ready to apply for food stamps in New York state, we can help you with the application process. In this post, we are going to describe in detail how to apply for food stamps in New York. There is a separate application for New York City residents, which we will describe below. We will also review all the information you need to submit a successful application. This includes the New York Food stamps income limit, eligibility criteria, and how much in food stamps you are likely to receive if you are approved

This post will cover:

Overview of the Food Stamps Program

How Much You Could Receive In Food Stamps

New York Food Stamps Eligibility Requirements

How to Apply for Food Stamps in New York

What Happens After You Apply

"How to Apply for Food Stamps In New York Online"

About Food Stamps Program

The SNAP Benefits program, also known as food stamps offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low- and no-income individuals and families living in the United States.

The program is administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The states are responsible for distributing benefits at the local level. 

The food stamps program is the largest economic assistance program offered by the federal government to fight hunger and provide nutrition assistance. 

In 2016, the government spent $70.9 billion on the program, helping roughly 44.2 million Americans (14% of the population).

Who Can Apply for Food Stamps

The food stamps program was created to help stop hunger and to improve nutrition and health of those on low income.

The program helps people with limited money buy the food they need for good health. This includes individuals who:

  • Have a job but have low income
  • Are living on a small or fixed income
  • Have lost their job
  • Are retired or disabled and not able to work

How Much In Food Stamps Will I Receive?

The amount of food stamps benefits you will receive if approved is based on your household size and countable income after all deductions are applied.

Keep in mind that households with an elderly or disabled person are given special consideration.

The table below shows the maximum amount you could receive depending on the number of people in your household.

"How much in food stamps will I receive in New York?"

What Can I Buy with Food Stamps?

There are strict requirements about what you can and cannot purchase with food stamps.

Generally, food stamps benefits may only be used to purchase food for human consumption and seeds/plants to grow food at home.

Food Stamp benefits cannot be used for: household items, grooming products, tobacco, alcohol products, pet food, etc. Here are the allowed food items:

You can use your benefits to buy foods such as:

  • Breads and cereals.
  • Fruits and vegetables.
  • Meats, fish, and poultry.
  • Dairy products.
  • Seeds and plants to grow food for your family to eat.

You cannot use your benefits to buy:

  • Non Food items (pet foods, paper products, soaps,
  • household supplies, grooming items, toothpaste, cosmetics, etc.).
  • Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, or tobacco.
  • Food that will be eaten in the store.
  • Hot foods (food cooked and served hot at the store).
  • Vitamins and medicines.

New York Food Stamps Program

The food stamps program in New York is run by the Department of Social Services, which manages all the social programs in the state.

The Program provides food assistance for nearly 1.6 million low-income New Yorkers including families, the elderly, and the disabled.

Many people don’t know they are eligible for food stamps benefits. For example, guardians who are not eligible for food stamps benefits themselves can apply on behalf of their children.

Seniors Citizens on fixed incomes may be eligible for food stamps and should apply if they need nutrition assitance or cannot afford to purchase all the food they need.

Here is what you need to know to successfully apply for food stamps in New York.

New York Food Stamp Eligibility Requirements

To apply for food stamps in New York, you have to meet the eligibility requirements listed below.

Of all the requirements, the income limit is the biggest factor that determines whether you are approved for benefits.

Make sure you review the income limit to be sure you are eligible before applying. If you determine that you are not eligible, there may be other nutrition assistance program you may be eligible for.

1. Residency

To apply for food stamps in New York, you must be a resident of the state of New York.

2. Citizenship

Only United States Citizens and certain categories of lawfully admitted non-citizens can apply for food stamps. See our detailed article on the topic here.

3. Income

If your income (based on your family size) is less than or equal to the amounts in the charts below, you may be eligible for SNAP benefits.

Gross income means a household’s total, non-excluded income, before any deductions have been made such as taxes or other withholdings.

Net income means gross income minus allowable deductions.

"New York Food Stamps Income Limit"Note that:

  • If your household’s gross income is below these amounts, it does not ensure that you will be eligible for a benefit.
  • A SNAP budget must be calculated for your household in order to determine eligibility and benefit amount.
  • The only way to determine if your household is eligible for SNAP benefits is to apply.

For a detailed post on how to calculate your gross and net income, and documents you will be required to resent to support your food stamps application, click here.

What Counts As Income?

Cash income from all sources, including earned income (before payroll taxes are deducted) and unearned income, such as cash assistance, Social Security, unemployment insurance, and child support are all counted towards your income for food stamps purposes.

Households with an elderly or disabled person are given special consideration, including higher asset limit, are exempted from the gross income test, and are allowed and more excess shelter/utility cost deduction, and medical expenses over $35 per month.

4. Resources

Households may have $2,250 in countable resources (such as cash or money in a bank account) or $3,500 in countable resources if at least one member of the household is age 60 or older, or is disabled.

What Counts as Resources?

Resources that could be available to the household to purchase food, such as amounts in bank accounts.

Items that are not accessible, such as the household’s home, personal property, and retirement savings, do not count. Most automobiles do not count.

How to Apply for Food Stamps In New York

There are four ways in which you can apply for food stamps in New York:

"Learn how to apply for food stamps in New York"

1. Apply Online

New York City Residents
Residents of New York City, click here to apply online through the myHRA system.

You can check your eligibility for more than 20 state programs here.

All Other New York State Residents
For all other residents of New York state, click here to apply for New York food stamps online through the mybenefits.ny.gov website.

You can check your eligibility for more than 20 state programs here.

Select your county of residence from the dropdown menu and you will be taken to the page to apply.

For help in creating a mybenefits account, click here for our step-by-step instructions.

2. Apply Over the Phone

New York City Residents
To apply for food stamps in New York City by phone, call the Human Resources Administration at (718) 557-1399. They are open Monday-Friday 8:00AM-5:00PM.
All Other New York State Residents
To apply over the phone, call the Department of Social Services at 1-800-342-3009. They are open Monday-Friday 9:00AM-5:00PM.

3. Print Out the Application and Mail/Fax it In.
New York City Residents
You can Download the application and fill it out.
All Other New York State Residents
You can Download the application and fill it out. 

4. Apply in Person

New York City Residents
You can apply for food stamps in New York City in person by visiting a Human Resources Administration office near you. To locate one, click here.
All Other New York State Residents
For all other residents of New York state, you can apply for food stamps in person by visiting aDepartment of Social Services office near you. To locate one, click here.

Help Applying for Food Stamps

In many locations throughout New York State, nutrition outreach providers are available to help you apply for food stamps. To find an outreach provider near you, click here.

Documents You Need to Apply

Here are the documents you will need to apply for food stamps in New York.

  • Recent pay stubs
  • List of household resources
  • Current rent/mortgage statement
  • A current property tax bill
  • Current homeowner’s insurance bill
  • Social Security card

What Happens After You Apply

After you apply for food stamps in New York, you must complete an interview with a representative of the Department of Social Services (DSS) or the Human Resources Administration (New York City Residents). 

The interview will be done by phone unless you request your interview in-person.

During the interview, the program representative will verify your documents and will ask you questions that will help establish your eligibility for the program.

If your application is approved, you will start receiving benefits within 30 days after you submitted your application.

If you need help sooner than that, you may qualify for expedited processing.

If your household has little or no money and needs help right away, could receive your initial food stamps benefit within five days.

You will still be required to complete the eligibility process, and supply all the required documentation at a later date.

Can Non-Citizens Apply for Food Stamps In New York?

Generally, undocumented immigrants, including DACA holders, are not eligible for Food Stamps.

However, some legal residents may be eligible for food stamps depending on their status.

Legal permanent residents that have lived in the United States for five years or more under their legal status may be eligible to apply.

In addition, legal permanent residents who have not been under their status for five years but have completed 40 qualifying quarters of work may be eligible to apply.

Also, legal permanent residents under the age of 18 may be eligible.

For a detailed post explaining the list of non-citizens eligible for food stamps, click here.

Here is a summary of other non-citizens that may be eligible for food stamps in New York State:

  • Refugees, Cuban/Haitian Entrants, Asylees, Amerasian immigrants, individuals with deportation or removal withheld, Hmong or Highland Laotians, victims of human trafficking, parolees for at least one year, conditional entrants, North American Indians born in Canada and members of federally recognized tribes;
  • Honorably discharged U.S. veteran, the spouse and unmarried dependent children;
  • Aliens on active duty in the U.S. military service, the spouse and unmarried dependent children;
  • Aliens paroled into the U.S. for at least one year;
  • Certain battered immigrants and their children or parents; and
  • Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) with certain disability benefits.

How will I Receive Benefits?

"New York EBT Card"

If you are approved for New York food stamps, your monthly benefit will be deposited monthly on an electronic benefits card (EBT Card). 

The card is also known as the Common Benefit Identification Card (CBIC).

It is a plastic debit card with your name and card number on it as shown above. 

Your EBT Card can be used to buy groceries at stores that accept food stamps.

How Long Can I Be on Food Stamps?

There are no limits to how long you can get food stamps if you have children/dependents living in your household or are under age 18 or over age 50.

However, If you are a single, able-bodied adult without dependents in your home, you can only receive food stamps for 3 months in a 36-month period.

Summary

The only way to know for sure if you are eligible for food stamps in New York is to apply. There is a separate application process for residents of New York City. For all other residents of New York state, the mybenefits website provides all the information you need to apply.

We hope this article has been helpful in providing you the information you need to apply for food stamps in New York.

If you have any specific questions about the application process that have not been addressed in this post or if you would like to share your experience applying for food stamps in New York, please let us know in the comments section below.

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