January 15, 2021

New York State Announces Six-month Increase in Food Benefits for New Yorkers

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Recipients Receive a 15-percent Boost in Benefits

More Than $100 Million in Emergency Benefits Will Also Be Distributed This Month

The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance today announced that New Yorkers enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will receive a 15-percent increase to their monthly food benefits for January through June. In addition, all households will receive the maximum monthly benefit for January under the emergency food assistance that has been issued since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March.

“The pandemic has caused immeasurable economic hardship for so many New Yorkers and this additional assistance will help people continue to feed themselves and their families,” Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Mike Hein said. “This temporary increase in benefits will bring some measure of relief to vulnerable New Yorkers as we continue to navigate these unprecedented times.”

For January, SNAP recipients will receive the additional 15 percent as a separate issuance that will be distributed starting in mid-January and continue through the end of the month. The federal legislation authorizing the increase was not approved in time to include the additional amount as part of the regular benefits for SNAP, which is administered by the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA).

Additionally, emergency assistance will be issued to any SNAP household that does not ordinarily receive the maximum allowable benefit per month, which will be $234 for an individual and $782 for a family of four over the next six months. The emergency assistance supplement will be distributed along with the additional 15 percent for those who are eligible. About half of all households receiving SNAP in New York will receive the emergency benefits for January.

Under the direction of Governor Andrew M. 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 billion in additional benefits have been distributed, bringing much needed federal dollars to local retailers throughout the state.

Commissioner Mike Hein added, “SNAP provides vital assistance to help struggling New Yorkers overcome food insecurity, enabling them to purchase healthy, nutritious foods. Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York has consistently expanded access to SNAP and will continue to seek ways to maximize benefits for eligible individuals and families.”

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.

Struggling New Yorkers continue to rely heavily on SNAP as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. As of October, there were nearly 2.8 million SNAP recipients throughout the state, an 8 percent 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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