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Hunger Action
 
Federal Nutrition Programs
 

The Food Stamp Program

Food Stamps in the Hudson Valley Project

Overview
Food Stamp Eligibility Requirements
Rights of Food Stamp Applicants
Expedited Food Stamps
Applying for Food Stamps
SSI and Food Stamps
Food Stamps and Farmers’ Markets
Spitzer advances Food Stamp Initiative
Helpful Food Stamp Resources and Web Links

Food Stamps in the Hudson Valley Project

While the demand for emergency food is rising, the food stamp program remains underutilized in New York State.  For the past year, Hunger Action has conducted a food stamp outreach project in the Hudson Valley, a region of New York State with statistically low participation in the program.  Hunger Action now services Dutchess, Putnam, Ulster, and Sullivan counties through our toll-free food stamp helpline.  We are also traveling throughout the region conducting food stamp screening at emergency food programs, libraries, grocery stores and community centers.  Please help us distribute material for the project.  You can download these PDF documents, or ask us to send you a package.  For more information, please contact Veda Myers 212-741-8192 ex. 2#.  vmyers@hungeractionnys.org

Food Stamp Brochure General English
Food Stamp Brochure General Spanish
Food Stamp Brochure Immigrants English
Food Stamp Brochure Immigrants Spanish
Food Stamp Wallet Sized Cards English
Food Stamp Wallet Sized Cards Spanish
Food Stamp Hotline Flyer English
Food Stamp Hotline Flyer Spanish
Outreach material request form

10 Facts You Need to Know About FOOD STAMPS

  1. You can own a car and get food stamps.

  2. You can own your own home and get food stamps.

  3. You can work and still get food stamps

  4. Students enrolled in work–study may be eligible.

  5. You do not need to have a permanent address or cooking facilities to get food stamps.

  6. It is not necessary to be receiving government assistance to get food stamps.

  7. The average food stamp benefit is 109 dollars per person per month!

  8. There are no resource limits for food stamps.

  9. In some emergency situations, you may be eligible to receive food stamps within 5 days.

  10. Many non citizens can get food stamps, and non eligible parents can apply for their citizen children.

DID YOU KNOW?
Approximately 40% of those who are eligible for food stamps are not receiving them. One in every five people in NYS is eligible for food stamps! Many people are eligible and do not realize it. Please read this flyer and contact your local food stamp office to find out if you are eligible for food stamps. You can also contact the Hunger Action Network of NYS. To locate the food stamp office nearest you, please call the state’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-342-3009.

WHAT ARE FOOD STAMPS?

You can use food stamp benefits to buy nutritious food from supermarkets, grocery stores, cooperatives, and limited farmers’ markets. If you are having difficulty making ends meet, or you have to choose between paying your expenses and buying wholesome food, food stamps can help. If you are eligible for the program, you will receive a monthly food stamp allotment to help you purchase food. Food stamps ensure your basic right to eat healthy, nutritious food.

The Food Stamp Program is a federally funded nutrition program. You do not have to pay for food stamps!

Food Stamp Eligibility Requirements

Household size

Gross Monthly Income
(before taxes)

Maximum allotment level

1

$1,127

$176

2

1,517

323

3

1,907

463

4

2,297

 588

5

2,687

698

6

3,077

838

7

3,467

926

8

3,857

1,058

Each
additional member

+390

+132

NOTE: There is no gross monthly income test, but rather a net income test, for households with a person 60+ or disabled.

For more information, please contact Hunger Action or the Nutrition Consortium of New York State (www.hungernys.org). You may also refer to the NYS OTDA’s Food Stamp Resource Book at www.otda.state.ny.us

Legal Immigrants & Food Stamps:
Who is Eligible?

Legal immigrants who receive a disability benefit regardless of date of entry into the United States.

Legal immigrants who have resided legally in the U.S. for five years.

All legal immigrant children regardless of date of entry into the U.S.

Even if you are not eligible because of your immigration status, other people in your household, including children, may be eligible.

Rights of Food Stamp Applicants

  • Applicants have the right to apply as many times as they like.
  • Applicants have the right to receive an application on the same day it is requested.
  • Applicants have the right to a fair hearing if wrongfully denied benefits or if they disagree with any action taken on their case.
  • All applicants must receive Food Stamps within 30 days of filing their application (or be notified that you are not eligible for the program).
  • Applicants have the right to receive Expedited Food Stamps, which are received within 5 days, in an emergency situation.

Expedited Food Stamps
In some cases, people may be eligible to receive Food Stamps within a short period of time if they meet certain requirements. Expedited Food Stamps must be received within 5 days. According to Food Stamp regulations, all Food Stamp applicants must be screened for Expedited Food Stamps. Yet some Food Stamp offices may not screen for expedited service and it is therefore important that applicants always ask to be screened for expedited Food Stamps.

The eligibility criteria for Expedited Food Stamps are as follows:

A person/family is eligible if:
He/She made less than $150 in the past 30 days
AND
He/She has less than $100 in cash.

A person/family is also eligible if:
His/Her expenses far outweigh household income.

If a person is applying for expedited Food Stamps for the first time, the only paperwork needed is a photo ID. However, collateral contact from a community-based organization can be used instead, if a photo ID is not available. Applicants may be able to have a phone interview or an interview in the home if they are unable to get to the Food Stamp Office.

Applying for Food Stamps
People may fill out an application for Food Stamps at a local IS/Job Center, Department of Social Service Office (DSS), or Food Stamp Office. To locate an office near you, contact the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-342-3009 or contact your local Department of Social Services for your county DSS office (Human Resources Administration in New York City). You can also find a list of local DSS offices throughout NYS at:
http://www.health.state.ny.us/nysdoh/medicaid/ldss.htm
People can also request that an application be sent through the mail or obtain one through OTDA’s website: http://www.otda.state.ny.us/ If applicants cannot get to an office or are homebound, they can have an adult who knows the household circumstances apply for them. It is also possible to arrange a home visit with a Food Stamp Office caseworker or a telephone interview to complete the application. Applications can be submitted in person, through mail, or via fax.

During the application, applicants will be asked to provide verification of income (earned and unearned).

Items to Bring to Interview:

  • ID
  • SS# for all household members.
  • Verification of disability.
  • Verification of income (earned and unearned).
  • Verification of expenses including childcare and housing costs.
  • Verification of medical expenses if over 60 or disabled member in household.

SSI and Food Stamps
If an applicant receives SSI and is the only one in the household, he/she is automatically eligible for Food Stamps. Please read this important announcement, which affects SSI live-alone recipients:
SSI Live Alones and Food Stamps: NYSNIP

Food Stamps and Farmers’ Markets
Farmers’ Markets are a great way to provide healthy food for families and support New York farmers at the same time. Farmers’ Markets offer fresh food grown right here in New York. Unfortunately, when Food Stamps switched from paper coupons to electronic debit cards, farmers lost Food Stamp clients’ business and Food Stamp recipients were no longer able to access fresh produce at farmers’ markets. However, through new measures, many markets are accepting Food Stamp Program benefits again. Participating farmers are easily identified with a “We Gladly Accept EBT” sign. To see if your local market is offering the Food Stamp EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) payment option, click here. For a general list of farmers markets, contact the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets or the Farmers Market Federation of NY.

Conducting outreach in your community on this new opportunity can help low income people gain access to healthful food each week. Click here to download a promotional brochure on Farmers Markets.

Governor Advances Food Stamp Initiative
Spitzer Seeks to Extend Benefits to 100,000 Families

June 7, 2007 - In conjunction with National Hunger Awareness Day, Governor Eliot Spitzer today announced a proposal that would expand access to the Food Stamp Program for low-income working families in New York State.

According to the State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), the program, would extend federally funded food stamp benefits to as many as 100,000 additional households, or more than 200,000 people, over the next 18 months.

“Too many working families have trouble accessing the Food Stamp Program,” said Governor Spitzer. “Simplifying the barriers to entry will support many hard working New Yorkers who are struggling to feed their families and achieve economic independence.”

The Working Families Food Stamp Initiative, portions of which must be approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), would allow New York to waive many of the complicated enrollment requirements that are seen as most onerous by working families. Parts of the program would be implemented first in New York City and several upstate counties before being rolled out statewide.

Under the program, families with an adult working thirty hours per week, or households with two adults who each work at least twenty hours per week, would be offered a simplified and streamlined application process. Eligible applicants will bypass the face-to-face interview at social services offices, will not be subject to finger imaging, and will face less demanding reporting requirements. In addition, resource limits will be waived for all food stamp recipients in New York State, allowing them to save for important family needs without jeopardizing their food stamp benefits.

“We believe that there are eligible but non-participating New Yorkers who are having trouble accessing the program. Governor Spitzer’s Working Families Food Stamp Initiative will change the equation by removing barriers that make it difficult for families to access the help they desperately need,” said OTDA Commissioner David Hansell. “The best long-term way to reduce hunger is to empower low-income families to develop the assets they need to climb out of poverty and enter the middle class.

Eliminating the limit on resources will allow low-income families to better meet their nutritional needs and at the same time save money to send their children to college, buy a first home, or open a retirement account.”

Susan Hager, President of the United Way of New York State, said: “While Governor Spitzer’s economic development programs are bringing new jobs to the state, there are some working families for whom the safety net remains essential. Governor Spitzer and Commissioner Hansell have taken a bold approach to help these families get the resources they need to feed their families and we welcome his leadership. This initiative will provide a significant boost to the work of local United Ways across the state who are partnering with government and community groups to reduce hunger.”

John Evers, Executive Director of the Food Bank Association of New York State, said: “By focusing on working families, the Governor’s food stamp program will increase both the economic and nutritional well-being of hundreds of thousands of New York families. There is no better day to announce such a bold new project than on National Hunger Awareness Day.”
Linda Bopp, Executive Director of the Nutrition Consortium, said: “The Food Stamp Program improvements announced today are great news for the thousands of struggling working families across New York. We applaud Governor Spitzer and Commissioner Hansell for their progressive response to provide relief to families who are caught in a trap between meeting job demands and putting food on their table.”

Dr. Lucy Cabrera, President and CEO of the Food Bank for New York City, said: "We commend OTDA's initiative to simplify the Food Stamp Program. This will ensure many of the working families we serve in emergency food programs have greater access to Food Stamps."
The Spitzer Administration also is pursuing an aggressive federal legislative agenda related to food stamp simplification and expansion as part of the Farm Bill Reauthorization in 2007. These efforts, being undertaken by multiple state agencies, focus not only on Food Stamp Program changes and relief from onerous federal rules governing the program, but also address broader agricultural, land use, conservation and energy issues.

Participation in the Food Stamp Program in New York has been increasing since 2002 -- recently leveling off at just over 1.8 million individuals.

Helpful Food Stamp Resources and Web Links

The Nutrition Consortium of New York State provides outreach and assistance on the federal nutrition programs. They also administer the Nutrition Outreach and Education Program (NOEP) in approximately 40 counties throughout the state. NOEP coordinators provide information about Food Stamps, conduct pre-screenings to determine a person’s eligibility and Food Stamp allotment, and provide assistance with Food Stamp problems. Some NOEP coordinators provide information about other federal nutrition programs, as well. Their website also contains a Food Stamp pre-screening manual which contains more detailed information about the program.

New Yorkers who do not have a NOEP coordinator in their county can contact Hunger Action or call the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance for Food Stamp information at 1-800-342-3009. In addition, the state’s website http://www.otda.state.ny.us/ includes the Food Stamp source book, which includes detailed rules and regulations pertaining to the program. Your local legal aid office can often provide help, as well.

United States Department of Agriculture also provides detailed information about the program on their website at http://www.fns.usda.gov/fsp/ In addition, USDA provides free outreach materials on the Food Stamp program. The materials include bulk brochures in various languages, beautiful promotional posters in various languages, and other materials.

The Following web sites include Food Stamp pre-screening tools online:

Community Service Society of New York (look for Public Benefits Resource Center)

Food Bank for Central New York
www.foodstampshelp.org
www.foodbankcny.org

United States Department of Agriculture

Other helpful sites on Food Stamps/Hunger:

America’s Second Harvest – National

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities – National

Center on Hunger – National

Center on Law and Social Policy – National

Community Food Resource Center – NYC

Food Research Action Center – National

Food USA

Greater Upstate Law Project

Self Sufficiency Calculator for the City of New York

Western New York Law Center

World Hunger Year- National


Overview

Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program

Food Stamp Program

School Meal Programs

Summer Food Service Program

WIC Program