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NYS: $100 million in additional food assistance for March

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Fri, Mar 5th 2021 11:20 am

All SNAP households to receive maximum level of food benefits

More than $1.2 billion in supplemental benefits distributed since last year

The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) announced all New Yorkers enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will receive the maximum allowable level of food benefits for March. Roughly half of all households participating in SNAP will receive the supplemental allotment later this month, which will result in an infusion of roughly $100 million into the state’s economy.

"Supplemental SNAP benefits have provided crucial support for families and individuals around New York state as they struggle through the global pandemic," said Mike Hein, commissioner of OTDA, which administers SNAP in New York. "This infusion of federal dollars will help New Yorkers avoid food insecurity and bring welcome business to local retailers as our state embarks on the road to economic recovery."

Additionally, all SNAP recipients will continue to receive a 15% increase to benefits for March, which will be reflected in their normal monthly allotment. With the 15% increase included, the maximum benefit level for an individual is $234, and $782 for a family of four. Federal legislation adopted in December provides for this increase to continue each month through June.

The emergency assistance supplement is provided to those SNAP households that do not ordinarily receive the maximum allowable benefit per month. The additional food benefits will be distributed starting in the second week of March 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 $1.2 billion in additional benefits have been distributed, bringing much-needed federal dollars to local retailers throughout the state.

A press release stated, “Struggling New Yorkers continue to rely heavily on SNAP as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. As of December 2020, there were more than 2.7 million SNAP recipients throughout the state, a 6.7% increase from the same month in 2019.”

A recent federal study quantifying the impact of SNAP on the U.S. economy found every dollar invested in food benefits can generate up to $1.54 in economic activity. The study also found an additional $1 billion invested in new SNAP benefits could support roughly 13,560 jobs nationwide.

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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