Food Access and Programs

SNAP: Changes Under COVID-19

T + T

Summary

Eligibility requirements for SNAP benefits remains the same. During the height of the pandemic there were many federal and state waivers to provide greater flexibility in the application process for food programs. However, many of these waivers have expired. We have included the areas where waivers remain in place below.

The NYC Human Resource Administration (HRA) has published many of these changes at https://www1.nyc.gov/site/hra/important-information-about-covid-19-and-your-hra-benefits.page. For HRA’s FAQ, visit: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/hra/help/dss-covid19-faqs.page.

Our free Benefits Plus SNAP Calculator, available at https://bplc.cssny.org/benefit_tools/snap_calculator can help determine the amount a household may be entitled to.

If you are a Benefits Plus subscriber, for additional information on SNAP benefits, refer to Benefits Plus, Food Programs, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). For subscription information visit: https://bplc.cssny.org/home/subscription_options.

SNAP Interviews Have Resumed

On June 1, 2022, the NYC Human Resources Administration (HRA) resumed interviews for all SNAP applications and recertifications. HRA will be using the On-Demand telephone system to facilitate the interviews.

New York City residents who have submitted an application/recertification form online, by fax, or mail should call 718-SNAP-NOW (718-762-7669) anytime between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday, for an “on-demand” telephone interview. It is recommended to wait about 3 days after the forms have been submitted to call and complete the interview to ensure that the system is updated, and that the HRA worker has access to the information needed to complete the interview. SNAP cases may be rejected if applicants do not complete an interview.

Clients have up to 30 days from the time they submit their forms to complete an interview either over the phone or in-person. If an applicant has an emergency need for SNAP, they should call right after they submit their application.

SNAP Program Requirements

WORK REQUIREMENTS

Districts must continue to suspend all required in-person work activity assignments until further notice.

TIME LIMITS FOR ABAWDS

The USDA previously approved a request to waive the ABAWD time limits in all areas of New York State from October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021. This waiver was extended through September 30, 2023. For more information go to https://otda.ny.gov/policy/gis/2022/22DC074.pdf.

SNAP Emergency Allotments (EA)

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act authorized an Emergency Allotments (EA) addressing food insecurity to SNAP households during the pandemic. SNAP households are eligible to receive an EA supplemental benefit in the amount that will bring them up to the maximum SNAP monthly benefit level for their household size or a supplement of $95—whichever amount is greater.
Benefits have been issued every month since March 2020.

Case Example

A household size of 3 receives $209 in SNAP benefits. The maximum amount of SNAP benefits a household size of 3 can receive is $740. Through the EA, this household will receive an extra $531 in SNAP benefits.


A household size of 2 receives $456 in SNAP benefits. The maximum of SNAP for a household size of 2 is $516. The EA supplement will be calculated at $95 rather than $60.

Go to https://bplc.cssny.org/benefit_tools/8 for current SNAP allotments.

Emergency supplements are automatically issued there is no need to apply for or contact the local office about these supplements.

The EA program will continue up until one month after the declaration of emergency has expired

For additional details visit: https://otda.ny.gov/SNAP-COVID-19.

SNAP Eligibility for College Students

TEMPORARY STUDENT EXPANSION FOR SNAP

Through the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, SNAP eligibility for college students was temporarily expanded to include students who:

  • Are eligible for a state or federal work study program, even if not enrolled, OR
  • Have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $0 on their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the current academic year.

This expansion will continue for the duration of the COVID public health emergency and until 30 days after the federal public health emergency declaration is lifted,

Students who are granted a temporary exemption and meet all other SNAP eligibility rules, will remain eligible until their next recertification even if the COVID-19 emergency declaration ends during their certification period.

For more information go to https://otda.ny.gov/policy/gis/2021/21DC023.pdf. Also see, Hunger Solutions: https://hungersolutionsny.org/federal-nutrition-programs/snap/snap-eligibility-for-college-students/#COVID

PERMANENT SNAP CHANGES FOR STUDENTS

In October 2020, NYS expanded “eligible student” to include those participating in qualified career and technical education (CTE) programs, offered at a comprehensive college, technology college, or community college within the State University of New York (SUNY) or City University of New York (CUNY) systems.

Students attending a SUNY or CUNY, technology college, or community college and enrolled at least half-time in a qualified CTE program, meet the criteria to be considered an eligible student for SNAP. The student must meet all other SNAP requirements such as income and immigration criteria.

Additionally, individuals attending any of the 10 Educational Opportunity Centers (EOC) in New York State and enrolled at least half-time in a career and technical education program, remedial courses, basic adult education, literacy, or English as a second language meet the criteria to be considered an eligible student for SNAP.

For details go to https://otda.ny.gov/policy/directives/2020/ADM/20-ADM-13.pdf.
For a SNAP desk guide go to https://otda.ny.gov/policy/directives/2021/LCM/21-LCM-05-Attachment-1.pdf.

Lost EBT Cards

Lost cards should be reported immediately to prevent fraudulent use. If an applicant/recipient has lost their EBT card, call 888-328-6399 to cancel the card and request a replacement by mail. Replacement by mail will take 5-7 days for households to receive their card.

If there is an emergency and recipients must obtain a replacement card on the same day, they have the option to visit an Over the Counter (OTC) site. OTC site is open from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm. To pick up a replacement card the individual must have a valid photo ID and visit the Brooklyn OTC site at 227 Schermerhorn Street – Ground Floor.

How COVID-19 Cash Aid Impacts SNAP

Click here for a chart on the impact of various COVID-19 programs.