New York SNAP FAQs


Applying for food stamps in New York can be a lengthy process, especially if it is the first time an applicant is filing for government assistance. Below, review a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the SNAP program in New York to assist with any outstanding questions or concerns about food stamps benefits.

Is SNAP only for families?

Unlike other federal aid programs, SNAP is meant to help low-income individuals, as well as families. However, SNAP does give priority to households that have babies or children, as well as larger households with dangerously low incomes.

What determines SNAP eligibility?

There are two primary eligibility requirements for SNAP. The first is how much a household makes, and the second is the size of the household. Applying households must be below a certain monthly gross income level, which is determined by the size of the household.

Can non citizens apply for SNAP?

The SNAP application initially asks for proof of identification, which includes name, address, marital and family status, as well as proof of citizenship. However, there are options available for noncitizens to apply for SNAP benefits, as long as they can prove they are legally in the country.

What are countable resources?

The SNAP application has several different questions regarding countable resources. Countable resources are items that give SNAP a broader look at the applicant’s income, such as how much is in his or her savings account, as well as the value of any stocks or investments the applicant owns.

What is Emergency SNAP?

Emergency SNAP is a special service that offers expedited SNAP benefits for applicants in greater financial trouble. Applicants must have a monthly income of under $150, and have less than $100 in countable resources, to qualify for emergency benefits.

Can unemployed applicants receive SNAP benefits?

Applicants are not required to have a job in order to apply for SNAP benefits. If they do receive SNAP benefits, they will be required to enter into the SNAP work program. As long as the applicant proves he or she is looking for a job or is pursuing an education to get a job, SNAP benefits will be approved.

Are homeowners excluded from receiving SNAP benefits?

Different federal aid programs exclude homeowners, because representatives sometimes assume that if the applicant can buy a home, then he or she would not need assistance buying food. SNAP does allow homeowners to apply for benefits, and there are even possible homeowner’s deductions that are available when determining SNAP eligibility.

Can students apply for SNAP?

Students are able to apply for SNAP benefits, but they are not considered to be high-priority. When calculating work hours, students are able to use their class time in place of employment hours.

Does an applicant need a permanent address to apply for SNAP benefits?

Applicants that do not have permanent addresses can still apply for SNAP benefits. Homeless applicants will even get certain deductions when they are applying for SNAP benefits, and in general, they are considered higher-priority applicants.

Can applicants apply to SNAP from home?

Applicants are able to complete the initial SNAP application from their homes, but they will be required to visit a local SNAP office for an interview thereafter. If the applicant has a medical reason for not being able to access a SNAP office, a phone interview will be conducted, instead.

Does each member of the household have to submit an application?

Not all members of a household have to apply for SNAP benefits. One person can file on behalf of the household, but he or she is required to disclose information regarding the number of people in the house. The SNAP application uses the total income of the household, not just the one person filing.

Is it possible to check a SNAP application?

Most SNAP applications take two to four weeks to process. If an applicant has been assigned a caseworker, he or she can call that person to find out the application status. If he or she does not have a caseworker, the applicant can call SNAP directly, or check the application status online.

When do SNAP benefits begin?

Most applicants will have to wait two months before they receive their EBT cards, which is how they are able to receive funds from SNAP. The only way to speed this process up is by requesting Emergency SNAP benefits.

Does SNAP affect taxes?

Unlike other federal aid programs, SNAP benefits are not taken into consideration when paying taxes. Applicants are still required to report their SNAP benefits, and receiving SNAP benefits may make participants ineligible for other types of aid programs.

What happens if an EBT card is lost?

If a SNAP beneficiary in NY loses his or her EBT card, it must be reported to SNAP as soon as possible. SNAP participants create a four-digit PIN number when they first receive their cards, but it is possible for someone to guess that number and to use the EBT card his or her own if it is not reported.

Is it possible to be accepted into SNAP, but not to receive funds?

There are some situations where an applicant is eligible for SNAP, but does not qualify for any money. However, he or she is still considered part of the SNAP program, which means the applicant can qualify for utility discounts, and that children of applicants are able to get free lunches at school.

What is the EBT card used for?

SNAP participants can use their EBT cards to purchase food from any grocery stores that accept either EBT cards as food stamps. Participants are only allowed to purchase select foods with their EBT cards. The participants’ case workers will inform them of the foods, and a full list is available in our guide.

Do SNAP benefits apply to restaurants at grocery stores?

SNAP benefits are not meant to be used for hot-food items, which include food services that are offered inside of grocery stores. An exception is made for some elderly participants, as well as participants with disabilities, but this is determined on a case-by-case basis.

Can SNAP pay for vitamins and other health items?

EBT cards are only meant to be used for purchasing nutritious food. Items like vitamins and medication are not allowed to be purchased using SNAP benefits, but there are other federal aid programs that assist with purchasing these items.

Can SNAP be used to purchase seeds or plants?

Some beneficiaries are able to use their SNAP benefits to purchase seeds or plants, as long as they are able to show that they are using these items to grow food for their households. Participants that live on farms may also be able to buy livestock for similar purposes.