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More SNAP benefits for low income families on the way

The state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance is making more than $100 million in additional emergency food assistance to help New Yorkers avoid food insecurity during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

About 700,000 low-income individuals and families enrolled in the SNAP program will receive additional food benefits this month to bring them up to the maximum allowable amount for October.

“These added food benefits are helping individuals and families avoid food insecurity at a time when so many are contending with unemployment and household budgets that have been stretched to the breaking point,” said Mike Hein, OTDA commissioner. “We will continue to look for ways to maximize federal dollars in order to reduce food insecurity and bring assistance to those in need.”

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 $204 for an individual and $680 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 October.

This will mark the eighth consecutive month all SNAP recipients in New York State have received the maximum benefit. Under the direction of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, 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, $700 million in additional benefits have been distributed, bringing much needed federal dollars to local retailers throughout the state. The supplement has brought an average additional food benefit of about $145 per household each month.

The pandemic has had a pronounced impact on the number of New York households seeking SNAP assistance, with enrollment increasing by 7.4% between March and July. The impact of these supplemental SNAP benefits, coupled with a sharp rise in cases, has resulted in a roughly 40% increase in benefit disbursements in New York between February and July, accounting for an influx of more than $138 million in federal funding.

As with the prior months, the supplemental payments will be issued over a period of several days once SNAP benefits for October 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.

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