New York Food Assistance
Food Stamps * Food Banks * Food Pantries * Soup Kitchens * WIC
School Meals * Special Milk * Summer Food * Senior Nutrition
In the State of New York, there are many sources for help with food. The New York Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens are all helping residents in need to cope with hunger and food insecurity.
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Learn more about
SNAP benefits a.k.a. Food Stamps.
Who is eligible for SNAP benefits (Food Stamps) in New York?
How to apply for New York Food Assistance?
How does New York Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance determine eligibility?
Approved! When and how do I get the Food Stamps benefits?
How much Food Stamps benefits do participants receive per month?
How and where to use Food Stamps benefits?
Food Stamp (SNAP benefits) in New York
New York State State Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or the Food Stamps Program as it is known by the public, is a federal program that provides grants to the States for purpose of reducing hunger and malnutrition in all eligible households across the nation. SNAP helps provide healthy food to qualifying low-income families with children, elderly or disabled in each State of the USA, including the State of New York State. Learn more about SNAP.
It is important to know that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is a federal entitlement program funded by U.S. Government grants. Any U.S. Citizen, even some legal alien residents will get free food assistance as long as they meet the SNAP eligibility guidelines. In other words, there is enough Supplemental Nutrition Assistance for every American that qualifies.
In the State of New York State, the SNAP is known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and is administered by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA). The Federal Government pays 100% of New York State State Food Stamp Benefits with federal grants appropriated for SNAP. The SNAP federal grants also pay a share of the State of New York State SNAP administrative cost.
According to the New York State State (NYS) Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, “SNAP can help you put healthy food on the table. SNAP monthly benefits can be used to purchase food at authorized retail food stores. SNAP benefits help low-income working people, seniors, the disabled and others feed their families.”
Approx. of the total New York population received Food Stamp Benefits in 2018
Recipients in June, 2018 of Food Stamps (SNAP) Benefits in New York
Recipients in June, 2017 of Food Stamp (SNAP) Benefits in New York
Who is Eligible for SNAP (Food Stamps) in the State of New York State?
The eligibility rules and benefit amounts in New York State, like in other States, are based on a limited income, limited liquid resources, household size, and other requirements, some of them specific to each State. Most eligibility rules are determined by regulations issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service.
The federal law allows States some flexibility when implementing SNAP on a State level. State agencies can adapt some of the food assistance program rules in order to meet the needs of the eligible, low‐income local population.
New York State Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is designed for individuals and families with limited income resources, who compose a household, and purchase and prepare their meals together for home consumption. People living with roommates, people who are temporarily unemployed, or people who are homeless can also get food stamps if they meet specific eligibility guidelines.
For the purpose of the New York State SNAP, certain people must be included in on household account even if they purchase and prepare meals separately. Husbands and wives of any household member, their children under age 22 when living together, plus children younger than 18 who are dependents of an adult household member are all considered as a part of one household formation.
In New York State anyone with limited income and resources may apply for food stamps but, in general, to qualify for New York State SNAP (Food Stamp) Benefits you must meet the following basic eligibility requirements:
- New York State Resident – must be a U.S. Citizen or a legal resident with SNAP eligible non-citizen status;
- Work Requirement – unless exempted, able-bodied household members who are 16 to 60 year old must be registered to work, and accept a suitable employment offer;
- Income Limits – Income limits eligibility depends on household size and composition. Households with no elderly or disabled individuals must meet both gross (130% of FPL) and net income limits. Households with elderly or disabled individuals must meet only the net income limits (100% of FPL). Gross income includes wages, salaries, commissions, dividends, child support, self-employment income, unemployment compensation, social security benefits, and others.
See the table for Maximum Monthly Income (measured as a percentage of the federal poverty level – FPL) allowable for SNAP Benefits Eligibility in State of New York State, as per household size:
New York State State SNAP Program has special rules for the elderly (ages 60 or older) or disabled applicants and beneficiaries. New York State households with disabled or elderly members may qualify for food stamp benefits regardless of the amount of gross income, but they must have liquid assets of $3,250 or less when their gross incomes are over 200% of the poverty line.
Most New York State State residents may be automatically or so-called categorically eligible for Food Stamps if they already participate in other means-tested assistance programs. Households in which all members are getting benefits from the Family Assistance (FA) program, Safety Net Assistance (SNA), or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can make the applicant for SNAP Benefits categorically eligible, thus bypassing the standard income eligibility and asset eligibility rules. Under the federal SNAP regulations, States do have to assign a gross income limit of 200% of the federal poverty line (FPL) or less in order to use any federal grant-funded benefit that can make Food Assistance applicants eligible.
Quick Eligibility Check
Use this Pre-Screening Tool to find out if you may be eligible to get New York State State SNAP Benefits (Food Stamps).
The screening allows interested in getting food stamps to provide some basic information and determine if they are potentially eligible for benefits.
Although you will be notified immediately on the screen if you qualify when you complete the questionnaire you still have to make an application at your local NYS Local Departments of Social Services.
Even if you are unsure whether you qualify you still may be eligible for SNAP Benefits and you should still apply. Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance is the agency in the State of New York State that can make the final determination regarding your SNAP application and grant you benefits.
To figure out, before applying, if you'd qualify for food stamps benefits in your state you have to consider the following:
- Your Household size: How many people you live and buy food with? Count:
- anyone you live with and buy and make food with
- children under 22 years old and,
- elderly 60+ and disabled that you make food for.
- Your Income: How much money does your household make? This includes both:
- earned income - the money you make from jobs and
- unearned income - cash assistance, Social Security, unemployment insurance, child support, etc.
Who counts as a member of the household for SNAP eligibility?
In general, anyone who lives with you and you buy food with counts a member of your household.
Your children under 22 of age count as household members, even if they buy and make their own food.
But your tenant, for example, or your adult children that are over 22 of age do not count. They are not counted in the household number for the purpose of food stamp benefits qualification.
The elderly age of 60+ and disabled people count as household members if you buy and make food for them, or you buy and make food together. If they live with you, but they buy and make food separately, they do not count as household members.
See the updated table below for this fiscal year's income limits and monthly benefits (allotments).
What is the gross and net income limit that qualifies you for food stamps?
SNAP Max Income for Food Stamps
Oct. 1, 2019, through Sept. 30, 2020
(130% of poverty)
(100% of poverty)
|Each additional member||+$479||+$369||+$146|
Source: USDA, SNAP Income Eligibility Standards
What are Maximum New York State SNAP (Food Stamps) Benefits?
If approved, the New York State State SNAP benefit amounts depend on the household size and the amount of their net income. USDA has maximum SNAP benefit limits per month per household size. Check in the table what are the maximum food stamp assistance monetary amounts a household can get. The dollar amounts of the food stamp benefits are called allotments.
How to Apply for SNAP Benefits (Food Stamps) in New York State?
In the State of New York State, applicants for SNAP can call or visit the social services district in the county where they live and ask for a SNAP Benefits application package.
Another option is to download and print the SNAP Application from the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance web site.
To apply to start answering the questions on the application and filling in the required information. If you do not have all the information that is needed to complete the SNAP application, provide as much as you can – but you must include your name, address, social security number, and your signature for OTDA to accept it. Mail or turn in your SNAP Application to one of the NYS Local Departments of Social Services or any SNAP Office, if in NYC.
Find a Local Department of Social Services in your area or call: 1-800-342-3009
You can also apply for SNAP Benefits online by visiting myBenefits.ny.gov.
Before determining your SNAP eligibility a social worker will have to process the application and interview you.
After your application is submitted you will be contacted to complete a SNAP eligibility interview. At the interview, you may need to provide some supporting documents that would help OTDA workers determine your eligibility.
Within 30 days of the interview, if eligible, you will receive a notice stating how much food assistance benefits and for how long your household is eligible for before a review of the case is due.
The SNAP benefit amount depends on the household size and its net income – that is all countable income minus all allowable deductions.
If NYS OTDA finds you eligible for SNAP benefits, you will be
New York State State SNAP Benefits Approval, Rules, Proofs Required
The OTDA has to verify the provided information and interview you before determining if the household is eligible for SNAP Benefits.
Your social worker will advise you what you must supply as proof. Here are examples of what you may be asked to prove and how to prove it.
- Proof of Identity – Photo ID, Driver’s License, US Passport.
- Proof of Residence – Current rent receipt, lease, mortgage statement, tax document, a statement from a non-relative landlord.
- Earned Income – Pay stubs or written statement from employer, tax records, business records if self-employed.
- Unearned Income – Most recent copy of Social Security check or copy of award letter, proof of unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation, pension, child support or alimony, educational grants, interest, dividends.
- Rental Income – If you get paid by someone who rents a room or apartment from you, a copy of the lease agreement or statement from your tenant showing the amount of rent paid;
- Non-citizen Status – For all non-US citizens applying for SNAP benefits, alien registration card or other immigration documents.
- Child Support Payments – If you make child support payments to someone not living with you, show proof of the legal obligation to make the payment, such as a court order, tax returns showing legally obligated support payments, verification of withholding from unemployment compensation, and the amount paid.
- Housing Costs – rent receipt or mortgage statement, real estate taxes, or homeowners’ insurance bill.
- Utilities – home heating oil, gas, electricity, telephone (including cell phones), or other utility expenses such as garbage disposal.
- Care Expenses – Child Care or Adult Dependent Care Expenses in-home or out-of-home care.
- Medical Expenses – If you or anyone in your household is age 60 or older or has a certified disability, out of- pocket medical expenses must be verified with receipts for co-payments or premiums on health insurance, or receipts for dentures, eyeglasses, hearing aids, hearing aid batteries, prescription medications, doctor-prescribed pain relievers or over-the-counter drugs, and transportation to get to and from medical services.
Additional information and proof may be required depending upon your situation. In case you are not able to provide all the information during the SNAP application interview, you will be given time to provide the required proof.
Applicants for SNAP benefits in New York State should get a response within 30 days from the date they submitted their application to the Local Departments of Social Services. When start getting food stamps benefits, households must report any changes of their situation in a set period of time in order to assure their participation in the New York State State Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
SNAP regulations require all non‐exempt household members to comply with work requirements. Work requirements include registering for work, not voluntarily quitting a job, and accepting a suitable employment offer for all SNAP benefit recipients age 16 through 59 if they are not exempt. As per federal SNAP guidelines, individuals who fail to comply with SNAP work requirements without good cause are ineligible for program benefits and disqualified from SNAP for certain periods of time, depending on how many prior instances of non‐compliance there have been.
The law limits the SNAP benefits to 3 months in a 3-year period for all able-bodied adults between the ages of 18 through 49 without dependents, who are not working or participating in a work program for at least 20 hours each week.
As part of the SNAP federal grant assistance requirements, each State has to offer employment and training (E&T) program to its SNAP benefits recipients. Participants in such programs, where available, can get adult education, vocational training, job skills training for specific jobs, and work experience via short-term unpaid work assignments.
In New York State State, the SNAP Employment and Training Program provides employment and training services for SNAP benefits recipients. All local social services districts offer Job Search and Job Readiness Training. Other districts offer work experience, on-the-job training, vocational training, education, and job skills training.
The main goal of E&T Programs is to help the SNAP benefits recipients get jobs, reduce or eliminate their dependency on the government benefits. Individuals who are interested in participating in the E&T Program should contact or visit their local department of social services or call: 1-877-472-8411
Approved! When and How Do I Get the SNAP Benefits?
New York State Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides the benefits via the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system. The monetary benefits of the New York State SNAP benefits are transferred to the accounts of qualified beneficiaries and are accessible through a Common Benefit Identification Card (CBIC) which is issued to anyone approved for SNAP. The New York State SNAP Benefits are deposited into the recipients’ accounts each month following the Benefit Issuance Schedule.
Benefits are generally made available based on the last digit of the client’s case number. For all counties, except the 5 boroughs of NYC (aka Upstate NY):
Case number ends in: 0 or 1 = benefits available on the 1st of the month
Case number ends in: 2 = benefits available on the 2nd of the month
Case number ends in: 3 = benefits available on the 3rd of the month
Case number ends in: 4 = benefits available on the 4th of the month
Case number ends in: 5 = benefits available on the 5th of the month
Case number ends in: 6 = benefits available on the 6th of the month
Case number ends in: 7 = benefits available on the 7th of the month
Case number ends in: 8 = benefits available on the 8th of the month
Case number ends in: 9 = benefits available on the 9th of the month
For NYC cases, benefit postings are spread out over 10 different days that are not Sundays or holidays, during the first two weeks of each month. The actual dates change from one month to the next, so NYC publishes a six-month schedule showing the exact availability dates.
If you have any question regarding your EBT Account or EBT Card call New York State EBT Customer Service: 1-888-328-6399
How and Where to Use the SNAP Benefits?
New York State State SNAP benefits are provided via the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system. The monetary benefits of the NYS SNAP are transferred into the accounts of qualified beneficiaries and are accessible through Common Benefit Identification Card (CBIC). Households and individuals can use their EBT cards and spend the benefits like cash at any New York State State grocery stores and farmers’ markets that are authorized by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Check the New York Food Stamps Stores near you that are authorized to take EBT cards for purchasing of SNAP-eligible food items. Eligible food items are any food to be eaten at home by people, including baby food, non-alcoholic beverages, and seasonings. Seeds and plants to grow food for your own family’s consumption are also allowed to be purchased with food stamp benefits. Non-grocery items such as cleaning products, pet food, paper products, alcohol, or tobacco are not allowed.
I Need Food Assistance Now. It is an Emergency!
Some households may get Expedited Services – that is getting Food Stamp Benefits within 7 calendar days if your household has less than $150 in monthly gross income and liquid resources (cash, checking or savings accounts) of $100 or less; or your rent/mortgage and utilities are more than your household’s combined monthly income and liquid resources; or a member of your household is a migrant or seasonal farmworker. In order to get expedite assistance, if you qualify for it, provide all the required information and proof as soon as possible. Call 1-800-342-3009 for more information on New York State Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
New York Food Assistance Program
Find more about New York Food Assistance Program
Search for Food Assistance by County and Town
Food Banks in New York
New York food banks play an important role in the overall New York food assistance effort to end hunger and food insecurity throughout the State of New York.
Their main objective is to collect food from various sources like wholesale organizations, grocery stores, and farms who have food in excess and are willing to donate.
Food banks then, sort, store, and distribute donated food to local soup kitchens, shelters, and food pantries.
The Food Bank Association of New York is such a non-profit organization that works to alleviate hunger in New York.
New York Food Banks
Food Pantries in New York
Food pantries offer food directly to people that need it and who have the means to cook it. They usually receive food from local food banks and in turn distribute it to low-income individuals and households at no cost.
Food pantries are typically located in facilities where received food can be stored and handled in a safe and sanitary manner.
Each food pantry serves a designated local area and most of them require prior registration and approval before food can be distributed to a particular individual or a family.
Soup Kitchens In New York
Soup kitchens serve cooked meals on-site to needy people at no cost. Like food pantries, they normally receive their food from local food banks.
Soup kitchens take care mostly of homeless people and people who do not have the means to cook for themselves.
They require storage, cleaning, and cooking equipment as they have to do food preparation, serving, and cleaning after the meals.
Food pantries are typically located in facilities where received food can be stored and handled in a safe and sanitary manner.
WIC Program in New York
New York Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides healthy foods, breastfeeding support, nutrition education, health care referrals to New York pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and young children during times of important growth.
School Meals in New York
School meals in New York are offered mainly through the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program.
The New York school meals programs make nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free meals available to school children each school day in the year.
School meals nutritional standards are based on the recommendation from the Institute of Medicine and the U.S. Government and teachers have reported that students perform better in class if they get regular meals.
Children getting school breakfast also had significantly reduced absence and tardiness rates, according to a Tufts University study.
Special Milk Program in New York
New York Special Milk Program offers milk to children in schools, childcare institutions, and eligible camps. Any child in a school or institution that participates in the Special Milk Program can get milk.
Schools may elect to offer free milk to low-income children. In order to qualify for New York Special Milk, the child must be a resident of the State of New York.
Summer Food Program in New York
Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is another New York food assistance program that provides free meals and snacks to help low-income New York children get nutritious meals in the summertime.
The Summer Food Service Program is a federal program that provides grants to local sponsors who want to combine a food service with a summer activity program.
The funding provided by SFSP ensures that New York children in low-income areas continue to receive nutritious meals during long school vacations when they do not have access to school lunch or breakfast.
Senior Nutrition in New York
New York Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) provides low-income seniors with special checks to buy fresh, nutritious fruits, vegetables, and herbs from authorized farmers’ markets. To qualify for New York senior nutrition special checks, the applicants must be 60 years of age or older and their gross household income must not exceed certain limits.
An application must be completed for each person in the household that wants to apply for the SFMNP benefits. Once approved, each beneficiary must reapply every year to continue participating in the New York Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. Learn more about how the senior nutrition program works.
Sources: State Agencies, FNS, USDA