Supplemental benefits aid low-income New Yorkers amid COVID-19 pandemic
The state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance has announced more than $100 million in additional emergency food assistance to help New Yorkers adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic avoid food insecurity.
About 700,000 low-income individuals and families enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will receive additional food benefits this month to bring them up to the maximum allowable amount for September.
“As the unprecedented global pandemic continues to strain households throughout the state, we must make every effort possible to prevent families from falling into food insecurity,” said Mike Hein, OTDA commissioner. “These additional food benefits are helping low-income New Yorkers to put food on the table at a time when so many are dealing with lost income.”
Administered by OTDA, the emergency assistance is issued to any SNAP household that does not ordinarily receive the maximum allowable benefit per month, which varies by household size, and is $194 for an individual and $646 for a family of four. These benefits will be distributed later this month, after the regular SNAP issuance. About half of all households receiving SNAP will receive additional benefits for September.
This will mark the seventh consecutive month all SNAP recipients in New York state have received the maximum benefit. Under the direction of Gov. Andrew Cuomo last spring, OTDA submitted a plan to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide emergency supplemental payments to any SNAP household getting less than the maximum monthly benefit. Since that time, $600 million in additional benefits have been distributed throughout the state.
The pandemic has had a pronounced impact on the number of New York households seeking SNAP assistance.
Statewide, SNAP recipients increased by 9.2% from roughly 2.5 million households in March to nearly 2.8 million in June.
As with the prior months, the supplemental payments will be issued over a period of several days once SNAP benefits for September have been issued. The payments will be delivered directly to recipients’ existing Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) account and can be accessed with their existing EBT card.
Like regular SNAP benefits, the supplemental benefits can be used to purchase food at authorized retail food stores. Any unused SNAP benefits will be automatically carried over to the following month.
For more information on the emergency supplemental SNAP benefits, including answers to frequently asked questions, visit otda.ny.gov/SNAP-COVID-19. New Yorkers can check their eligibility for SNAP and apply online by visiting mybenefits.ny.gov.