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Hochul announces $234 million in additional food assistance for February


Fri, Feb 10th 2023 02:40 pm

All SNAP households to receive at least the maximum level of food benefits

√ Federal action discontinues monthly supplemental food benefits after February

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday announced that all New Yorkers enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will receive a supplemental allotment of food benefits for February, including those already receiving the maximum allowable level.

Issued monthly to help New Yorkers weather the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, the supplemental benefits will conclude after this month due to the changes prescribed by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, which was adopted by Congress late last year.

"In addition to SNAP, these monthly benefits have proven to be invaluable to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers dealing with food insecurity throughout the pandemic," Hochul said. "With these emergency supplemental benefits ending, we will continue to focus our efforts protecting New Yorkers who are struggling to feed themselves and their families by expanding eligibility and maximizing assistance through SNAP."

Hochul’s team said, “The emergency assistance supplement will be provided to all households receiving SNAP – a federally funded program overseen by the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) – and result in an infusion of $234 million in federal funding into New York's economy this month. All households, including those already receiving the maximum benefit for the household's size and households that formerly would have received a monthly supplement of less than $95, will receive a supplement of at least $95.”

SNAP households in all counties outside of New York City should see these extra benefits issued by Friday, Feb. 24. SNAP households in New York City should see their benefits issued by Tuesday, Feb. 28.

OTDA began issuing the emergency supplemental benefits in April 2020 to those SNAP households receiving less than the maximum monthly benefit amount. When New York state's emergency declaration expired in June 2021, the agency successfully worked with the federal government to secure the authority to continue issuing the maximum allotment for all SNAP households.

The recently approved federal spending bill ends these temporary emergency allotments this month, meaning SNAP recipients will receive their regular monthly benefit beginning in March and moving forward. New York state received roughly $6.5 billion in additional federal food assistance between April 2020 and December 2022.

OTDA is mailing letters and sending text messages to all SNAP households to let recipients know that these additional monthly benefits are ending. The agency also has additional information at its website.

OTDA Commissioner Daniel W. Tietz said, "The additional food benefits provided throughout the public health crisis have helped alleviate much uncertainty among New Yorkers who were unsure about being able to put food on the table. It's important that affected households seek out other available assistance that may help with offsetting other household costs."

New York State Sen. Roxanne J. Persaud said, "The SNAP emergency assistance supplements have been significantly helpful to food insecure New Yorkers. It is important for households to know that benefits are returning to regular pre-Pandemic levels next month.”

Assembly member Maritza Davila said, "March of 2020 – during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic – was not only a public health crisis, but had adverse effects on our economy. Since then, many individuals faced financial insecurity and mourned the loss of their loved ones – including family members that provided support and helped bring food to the table. That is why it's crucial that we provide extra support, and I'm grateful that Gov. Hochul will be announcing the additional funding of $234 million for food assistance. Anti-hunger programs like SNAP will benefit from this funding and feed millions of people statewide. This is how we help families thrive."

Other programs and services that SNAP recipients may be eligible for include:

√ The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, which is available for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and children under age 5 receiving SNAP, may automatically qualify for benefits.

√ FreshConnectDouble Up Food Bucks and NYC Health Bucks, which provide coupons to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at local farmers markets or participating food retailers.

√ The Affordable Connectivity Program, which provides discounts toward residential internet costs.

√ The Home Energy Assistance Program, which provides home heating assistance.

√ Food assistance from area food pantries.

As with the prior months, the February payments will be delivered directly to recipients' existing Electronic Benefit Transfer accounts and can be accessed with their existing EBT cards. Like regular SNAP benefits, the supplemental benefits can be used to purchase food at authorized retail food stores.

Any unused SNAP benefits will automatically carry over to the following month. SNAP benefits will not be removed from a recipient's card if they use their benefits any time within 274 days.

Find more information on the emergency supplemental SNAP benefits, including answers to frequently asked questions, here. New Yorkers interested in enrolling can check their SNAP eligibility, as well as apply online, by visiting mybenefits.ny.gov.

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