Administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Food Stamp (FS) Program issues monthly benefits redeemable at authorized retail food stores. Eligibility and benefit levels are based on household size, income, assets and other factors.
- Food Stamp Benefits - Working hard but still struggling to make ends meet? Food stamp benefits can help you put food on the table. The Food Stamp Program issues monthly benefits that can be used to purchase food at authorized retail food stores. Food stamp benefits help low-income working people, senior citizens, the disabled and others feed their families.
- Food Stamps for Working Families - New York is making it easier for working households to apply for the Food Stamp Program through the Working Families Food Stamp Initiative.
- Telephone Recertification for Current Food Stamp Recipients - If you already get food stamp benefits in New York State, as long as you do not also get Temporary Assistance (cash) benefits, you can recertify (renew your benefits) without coming into the social services office.
- Eat Smart New York-Food Stamp Nutrition Education - The Eat Smart New York Program has ideas for how to stretch your food dollars and eat healthier foods. It also has some great ideas on how to prepare quick, easy, low-cost meals. To find a Food Stamp Nutrition Education Program in your area, visit Eat Smart New York NYS County Contacts.
- Transitional Food Stamp Benefits - If your temporary assistance cash case closes, in most cases, you can still receive food stamps, even if the reason that your case is closing is because you now have too much income to be eligible.
Food Stamp Benefits
Food stamp benefits can help you put healthy food on the table. The Food Stamp Program issues monthly benefits that can be used to purchase food at authorized retail food stores. Food stamp benefits help low-income working people, seniors, the disabled and others feed their families. Benefits are provided through an electronic benefit card, similar to a debit or credit card. Eligibility and benefit levels are based on household size, income, expenses and other factors.
Recent changes to the Food Stamp Program have made it easier for many working households to apply and gain access to these critical nutrition supports. If you work hard but still struggle to make ends meet, you may be able to supplement your food budget through the Food Stamp Program.
OTDA has taken steps to help you provide for your family through the Food Stamp Program.
For more information about how and where to apply, call 1-800-342-3009 press “1” for Food Stamps, or in New York City, call 1-877-472-8411.
For more information about the Federal Administration of the Food Stamp Program visit: U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
It’s Easier to Use Food Stamp Benefits
For several years now, food stamp benefits have been provided through an electronic benefit card, similar to a bank debit card or credit card. This process is called Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT). If you are eligible, an account will automatically be set up for you, and every month your benefits will automatically be deposited into your account. Your EBT card is used to pay for your food. You simply swipe the card and enter your Personal Identification Number (PIN) in the machine at the checkout line.
It’s Easy to Find out if You May be Eligible for Food Stamps
To find out if you may be eligible for food stamp benefits, visit myBenefits.ny.gov to use the Food Stamps Pre-screening Eligibility Tool. This pre-screening tool is not an application for Food Stamps. An application for food stamps must be submitted to your local Food Stamp office. The current Food Stamp application is available from this site in English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian. To find out the location of your nearest food stamp office, contact your local Department of Social Services.
It’s Easier to Apply for Food Stamps
In many locations throughout New York State, there are community organizations that can help you get and complete an application for the Food Stamp Program. Most of these organizations can also screen you to see if you might be eligible. For a list of these organizations visit the Nutritional Outreach Educational Providers website. In some of these locations, you may be able to apply electronically. View a list of the locations where On-line food Stamp Application sites are available.
If you have a physical or mental hardship, and are disabled, New York allows you to have someone you designate apply for you. You may also authorize someone who knows your household circumstances to apply for Food Stamp Benefits for you. If you would like to authorize someone, print the person’s name, address and phone number on the signature page (page 5) of your food stamp application.
Applying By Mail
If you are working or have circumstances that make it hard for you to get to your local social services office for an interview after you have submitted your application, it may be possible to have the application interview done by telephone. If all the adults in your household are age 60 or older, or are disabled and have no earned income, you automatically qualify to have your application and recertification interviews done by phone, if you request it. Some other hardships that might make you eligible for a phone interview include cost or difficulty of traveling to and from the social services office, health problems (even temporary ones), difficulty getting time off from work or difficulty getting child care or dependent care. If you apply, contact your local department of social services office to request a phone interview.
If you qualify for food stamps, you must get them no later than 30 days from the date the office got your application.
For further information about Food Stamps, you may call the Office of Temporary and Disability Services toll-free hotline at 1-800-342-3009 and press “1” for Food Stamps
You Can Now Have Savings and Qualify for Food Stamps
In New York State, the Food Stamp Program now allows you to have more money in a checking or savings account, or even a retirement account or college savings account, without affecting your eligibility for food stamp benefits. As of January 1, 2008, most households applying for food stamp benefits no longer have to pass a savings/resource test in order to get food stamp benefits. This means having money in a savings, checking or retirement account, or having other resources, will not keep you from being eligible for food stamp benefits, as long as you meet the income guidelines.
Food Stamps for Working Families
New York is making it easier for working households to apply for the Food Stamp Program through the Working Families Food Stamp Initiative. You don’t need to have children to take part. New York thinks of the people you live and buy groceries with and eat with as part of your family. Even if you live by yourself you can still participate, as long as you meet the work requirements.
If you work the necessary number of hours or meet the earnings requirements, you may apply for food stamp benefits by mail and be interviewed on the phone, so you don’t need to take time off from work to visit a social services office.
Right now, if you qualify, you can do your application interview by phone in many, but not all, counties and in some boroughs of New York City. Soon telephone application interviews will be available statewide. View New York State Food Stamp Initiatives by Region.
You may qualify to have an application interview by phone, under the Working Families Food Stamp Initiative, if you submit an application and if:
- Any adult member (18 years of age or older) of your household is working 30 hours or more per week or earning $196.50 or more per week; or
- Any two (2) adult members of your household are each working 20 or more hours per week or each earning $131 or more per week.
If you live outside of New York City and qualify for the Working Families Food Stamp Initiative you won’t need to be finger-imaged.
Telephone Recertification for Current Food Stamp Recipients
If you already get food stamp benefits in New York State, as long as you do not also get Temporary Assistance (cash) benefits, you can recertify (renew your benefits) without coming into the social services office. This is currently only available in certain New York State counties and boroughs of NYC. When the county or borough you live in starts doing recertification interviews by phone, you will receive a notice telling you that it’s time for you to recertify. View New York State Food Stamp Initiatives by Region.
Recertification by telephone is more convenient because you will be interviewed from the comfort of your home. It is easier because you no longer have to travel to the Food Stamp Office for recertification. You will save valuable time needed for employment or other important matters by not reporting in person to your local department of Social Services for your interview. For more information, contact the Info Line: 1-800-342-3009.
Transitional Food Stamp Benefits
If your temporary assistance cash case closes, in most cases, you can still receive food stamps, even if the reason that your case is closing is because you now have too much income to be eligible. In 2001, New York State became the first state in the nation to give Transitional Food Stamp Benefits. This program was designed to help families who used to get cash benefits make the transition to self-sufficiency. For most families leaving cash assistance, food stamps benefits can be continued – often at a higher amount than before – for five months.