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New York state announces a boost in nutrition assistance

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Mon, Feb 1st 2021 02:05 pm

All SNAP households to receive a 15% increase in food benefits

More than $100 million in emergency food assistance also to be distributed in February

The state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) announced all New Yorkers enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will see a 15% boost when their regular monthly food benefits are issued, as part of an increase that will continue through June. In addition, those households not already receiving the maximum allowable benefits will receive a supplemental allotment later this month to bring them to this level for February.

“There is no denying the economic struggles so many New Yorkers are experiencing during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mike Hein, commissioner of OTDA, which administers SNAP in New York. “These additional food benefits will help millions of New Yorkers to put food on the table and provide a welcome economic stimulus to local retailers throughout the state.”

All SNAP recipients will see a 15% increase to their normal level of benefits this month. Federal legislation adopted in December provides for this increase to continue each month through June. In January, SNAP recipients received the additional 15% as a separate issuance, as federal legislation authorizing the increase was not approved in time to include the additional amount as part of the regular SNAP benefits.

Additionally, about half of all households receiving SNAP in New York will receive the emergency benefits for February. These added food benefits are distributed to those SNAP households that do not ordinarily receive the maximum allowable benefit per month, which is now $234 for an individual and $782 for a family of four. The emergency assistance supplement will be distributed during the second week of February and continue through the end of the month.

As with the prior months, 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.

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, more than $1.1 billion in additional benefits have been distributed, bringing needed federal dollars to local retailers throughout the state.

Struggling New Yorkers continue to rely heavily on SNAP as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. As of November, there were more than 2.7 million SNAP recipients throughout the state, a 5.7% increase from the same month in 2019.

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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