Governor Cuomo Announces Replacement SNAP Benefits for New Yorkers Impacted by Hurricane Sandy
50% of Monthly Benefits Automatically Issued to Recipients in Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Westchester Counties and parts of NYC
November 3, 2012 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced New York State has received a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to replace food lost by recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, formerly known as Food Stamps, in areas hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy. Under this grant, which the State requested with the help of the City of New York, current recipients of SNAP will be automatically issued 50 percent of monthly benefits to replace food lost as a result of the storm starting next week. The Governor also announced that SNAP recipients in these areas will be able to purchase hot and prepared foods with their benefits. New York State will be able to issue up to $65 million in replacement benefits.
The City of New York helped identify 77 eligible zip codes which include all of Staten Island for the State’s waiver request. Beginning next week, recipients of SNAP benefits in those 77 zip codes and in Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan and Westchester counties, will automatically have 50 percent of their October monthly SNAP benefit amount deposited in their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) account. Additional zip codes in New York City that experienced extended power loss may be added as more details about the number of households affected becomes available.
“Hurricane Sandy left many residents in downstate regions of New York State without the most basic of necessities, such as shelter and food,” Governor Cuomo said. “These partial replacement SNAP benefits will help families replace food lost from the storm and restock their kitchens. I thank Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Undersecretary Kevin Concannon for their support and quick action on approving our requests for assistance.”
Other current SNAP recipient households that have lost food purchased with SNAP benefits due to Hurricane Sandy are also entitled to replacement benefits. The loss must be reported by Wednesday, November 28, 2012, and the household must return a signed and completed form, found at otda.ny.gov/programs/applications/2291.pdf, by close of business on Monday, December 10, 2012. The form is also available at local department of social services offices. To find your local department of social services, visit otda.ny.gov/workingfamilies/dss.asp, or call 1-800-342-3009.
SNAP recipients in New York City and Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan and Westchester counties will be able to use their benefits to purchase hot foods and prepared foods, in recognition of the fact that so many New Yorkers lost power or have been relocated as a result of the storm and are unable to store food or have access to cooking facilities. Normally, federal regulations do not allow the purchase of these items with SNAP benefits. The food must be purchased at authorized retailers, like grocery stores, that already accept EBT. The U.S. Department of Agriculture granted a request for a waiver from New York State for this requirement that is effective immediately and expires November 30, 2012.
Households that do not currently receive SNAP assistance can check their eligibility quickly and easily, and apply online, by visiting myBenefits.ny.gov. New Yorkers can also use New York City's ACCESS NYC, an online service for New York City residents to apply for SNAP and other City, State and Federal benefit programs.