Overview of COVID-19 Impact

Food Programs: Changes Under COVID-19

T + T

SNAP

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.

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 Online subscriber, for additional information on SNAP benefits, refer to Food Programs, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

For subscription information visit: https://bplc.cssny.org.

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

Time Limits for ABAWDs

A waiver of the ABAWD work requirements was previously in place until September 30, 2021. However, the USDA approved an additional waiver of the ABAWD time limit in all areas of NYS for the period of October 1, 2021, through September 30, 2022. More information can be found here https://otda.ny.gov/policy/gis/2021/21DC049.pdf.

SNAP Emergency Allotments (EA)

BENEFITS ARE ENDING

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 law, which was recently passed by Congress, ended the SNAP Emergency Allotment (EA), also known as a SNAP supplement.

By March 2023, all SNAP households’ benefits will return to “normal amounts”, without the added supplement.

There will be a January 2023 EA and the final EA will be February 2023.

View USDA announcement here.

BACKGROUND

Since March 2020, NYS utilized this temporary supplement, made available under the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act, to bring relief to SNAP households during the pandemic.

For the past 2+ years, the amount of the supplement either brought households to the maximum SNAP level for their household size or were provided with an additional $95 (which ever amount was greater). See example scenarios below:

Scenario 1

  • A household size of 3 receives $309 in SNAP benefits (budgeted amount).
  • The maximum amount of SNAP benefits a household size of 3 can receive is $658.
  • Through the EA, this household will receive an extra $349 in SNAP benefits, which brings them up to the $658 amount.

Scenario 2

  • A household size of 2 receives $399 in SNAP benefits (budgeted amount).
  • The maximum amount of SNAP benefits for a household size of 2 is $430.
  • In this scenario, $60 brings them to the max of $430 but $95 is the greater amount. The EA supplement will be calculated at $95.

Scenario 3

  • A household size of 2 receives the maximum of $430 in SNAP benefits (budgeted amount).
  • They have reached the maximum; therefore, the EA supplement will be calculated at an additional $95.

With the end of the EA supplement, household benefits will stay at the budgeted amounts, unless there is a change in income and/or deductions.

Click here to use our free SNAP calculator to help determine benefit SNAP amounts.

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.

HOW COVID-19 CASH AID IMPACTS SNAP

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

NYS Pandemic EBT

SUMMARY

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act created the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program. In New York State, the P-EBT program provides a food supplement to cover the cost of meals children would otherwise have received at school.

  • For the 2019-20 school year, benefit amounts were based on the number of months in which schools were closed due to COVID-19.
  • For the 2020-2021 school year, benefit amounts were based on the number of days the school was closed, or that in-person attendance was reduced due to COVID-19. The benefit expanded to include children enrolled in childcare programs.
  • For the 2021-2022 school year, New York State has not yet received federal approval to distribute P-EBT.
  • Summer P-EBT
    • In May 2022, Summer P-EBT was made available for Summer of 2021. Summer P-EBT provides all eligible students with $375 in food benefits.
    • NYS is awaiting approval to issue benefits for Summer 2022. Once the state receives approval, it will announce benefits and timeline for issuance.

To qualify, households must have children who would be eligible to receive free and/or reduced-priced meals. Qualifying households do not apply for the P-EBT program, the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) administers the program and automatically issues benefits on an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card.

Families who need assistance, including to replace a lost or stolen card, can click here to submit an online P-EBT information form.

DESCRIPTION OF P-EBT

The Benefit

P-EBT benefits are NOT SNAP benefits. They are a temporary food supplement benefit issued to households with school-aged children who would have otherwise receive free or reduced-price meals, whether they are learning remotely or at school.

P-EBT food benefits can be used like SNAP benefits to purchase unprepared food at participating supermarkets and bodegas that accept EBT transactions. Click here for a detailed list of food items that may be purchased with the P-EBT benefits; this is the same list for households with SNAP benefits.

P-EBT food benefits remain available and accessible on the EBT card for up to one year from the date issued. Households in NYS may check their EBT balance by visiting https://www.connectebt.com/ or by calling 1-888-328-6399.

Households with questions about their P-EBT food benefits or those who have not receive their P-EBT food benefit should complete and submit the P-EBT Contact Form, click here.

Benefit Amount

For the 2020-2021 school year, the P-EBT amount was based on the number of days the school was closed, or that in-person attendance was reduced due to COVID-19. For households with children in schools that reported that in-person attendance was not reduced during a month due to COVID, will not receive a benefit for that month.

Schools that reported in-person attendance was reduced by:

  • 1 to 12 days during a month, will receive $82 in P-EBT food benefits for that month.
  • More than 12 days during a month, will receive $132 in P-EBT food benefits for that month.
Note

The daily benefit amount is set at $6.82 and includes breakfast, lunch and a snack, which the child would have received had they been in-person.

All benefits have been distributed for the 2020-2021 school year. For more information go to https://otda.ny.gov/SNAP-COVID-19/.

For the 2021-2022 school year, New York State has not yet received federal approval to distribute P-EBT.

Summer P-EBT

In May 2022, Summer P-EBT was authorized to cover the summer of 2021. Summer P-EBT provides all eligible students with $375 in food benefits. The eligibility criteria (listed below) remain the same for Sumer P-EBT.

For distribution information go https://otda.ny.gov/SNAP-COVID-19/.

NYS is awaiting approval to issue benefits for Summer 2022. Once the state receives approval, it will announce benefits and timeline for issuance.

QUALIFYING FOR P-EBT

Note

Families of non-public school students should contact the State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to learn if they are eligible.

  • Child must be enrolled in a public school, or non-public school, where free lunch is provided as part of the National School Lunch Program.
  • Child is eligible to receive free and/or reduced-priced meals. This includes:
    • All children attending Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) schools where all children attending public schools in the district received free or reduced-price school lunches.
    • Children who attend private, parochial and charter schools and who received free school lunches.
    • Three and four-year old children attending Universal Pre-Kindergarten and who received free school lunches.
    • Young adults ages 19 to 21 who are still in school and who received free school lunches.
    • Foster children who received free school lunches.
  • There are no immigration, income, resource, or employment criteria.
    • P-EBT is not counted as a public charge.

APPLYING FOR P-EBT

There is no application for the P-EBT program. The State will identify households and issue benefits automatically.

ADDITIONAL HELP

OTDA is providing a P-EBT helpline at 833-452-0096, available Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 5 pm, as well as contact via e-mail at otda.sm.eisp.PEBT@otda.ny.gov

Professionals may also use the e-mail on behalf of clients; they should indicate “Advocate Inquiry” on the subject line to facilitate routing of the inquiry to expedite the response.

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