Welcome the American Heart Association’s Westchester County Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Benefits Community Forum. Thank you for joining us for this important discussion about food assistance programs available in our area. We would like to give a special thank you to our panelists, Anne Daddona from Westchester County Department of Social Services; Esmeralda Hoscoy from Catholic Charities Community Services; and Sharon D’Errico from Sun River Health. We created this companion page to help you find more information about SNAP.
What is Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program(SNAP)?
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) issues electronic benefits that can be used like cash to purchase food. SNAP helps low-income working people, senior citizens, the disabled and others feed their families.
Who is eligible?
If your gross income, based on family size, is at or below the amounts in the following charts, you may be eligible for SNAP benefits. However, the only way to determine if your household is eligible for SNAP benefits is to apply. The SNAP guidelines are updated yearly by NYS OTDA in collaboration with the USDA and published on October 1.
Check your eligibility status (prescreening tool available)
How do I register from SNAP?
- Gather documents you will need
- Log on or register to create an account
- Answer a series of questions about your household
- Submit your application
What documents do I need to provide?
Documents may vary depending upon the individual applicant’s household circumstance
However, SNAP rules require that the SNAP worker get proof of the following:
Identity, Household size, Age, Citizenship status, Social security numbers, Income and resources, Proof of residence in the county in which they are applying.
- Recent pay stubs
- List of household resources
- Current rent/mortgage statement
- Current property tax bill
- Current homeowner’s insurance bill
- Social Security card
Applicant households may be required to provide the following documents for budgeting purposes not eligibility*
- Shelter and utility costs
- Childcare and child support costs
- Medical expenses for elderly (age 60 and over) and applicants who meet the SNAP definition for disabled
*If verification of shelter and utility costs, childcare and child support costs or medical expenses for the elderly is not available, the case can still be opened without the deduction, if the household is otherwise eligible. However, the household may receive a smaller benefit than it would have if the item were verified.
*Households may submit documents by mail fax or via secured mobile upload application NYDocSubmit.
How does one maintain their enrollment status? Is there a regular opt-in process?
- SNAP households are required to recertify each year.
Can an undocumented person receive SNAP benefits?
Some categories of people are not eligible for SNAP regardless of how small their income or assets may be, such as strikers, most college students, and certain legal immigrants. Undocumented immigrants also are ineligible for SNAP. However, their citizen children and/or spouses may be eligible for SNAP benefits and should apply if interested.
Many non-citizens may be eligible for SNAP benefits if they are one of the following:
- Refugees, Cuban/Haitian Entrants, Asylees, Amerasian immigrants, individuals with deportation or removal withheld, Hmong or Highland Laotians, victims of human trafficking, parolees for at least one year, conditional entrants, North American Indians born in Canada and members of federally recognized tribes;
- Honorably discharged U.S. veteran, the spouse and unmarried dependent children;
- Immigrants on active duty in the U.S. military service, the spouse and unmarried dependent children;
- Immigrants paroled into the U.S. for at least one year;
- Certain battered immigrants and their children or parents; and
- Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) in the U.S. for 5 years
- LPR with certain disability benefits
- LPR with 40 qualifying quarters
- LPR under age 18
If you work, can you still receive SNAP benefits?
- You can receive SNAP benefits if you are working if you meet the eligibility guidelines.
How and Where can I use my SNAP benefits?
- SNAP benefits are issued via an EBT card, which functions like a debit card. Households utilize the card at point of purchase anywhere the EBT SNAP benefit cards are accepted.
Are there restrictions on what SNAP can be used to purchase?
What can I purchase with SNAP?
Food for your household to eat, such as:
- breads and cereals
- fruits and vegetables
- meats, fish and poultry
- dairy products
You can also purchase seeds and plants, which produce food for your household to eat.
What can’t I purchase?
- beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco
- any nonfood items, such as:
- pet food
- soap, paper products
- household supplies
- vitamins and medicine
- food that will be eaten in the store
- hot food
What are the benefits – is it a set amount of money?
- The amount of SNAP benefits allocated to a SNAP household may vary depending on household composition, income and other SNAP criteria.
How much could I receive from SNAP benefits each month?
|Household Size||Maximum Allotment|
|For each additional member||$ 153 +|
* These figures are based upon SNAP Standards effective October 1, 2020.
Note: A SNAP budget must be calculated for your household in order to determine SNAP eligibility and benefit amount.
Do SNAP and WIC overlap? Can a single person or a family receive both?
SNAP and WIC are separate programs, though there is some overlap between the two. WIC beneficiaries are entitled to receive supplemental nutritious foods, nutrition education, counseling at WIC clinics, screening, and referrals to other health, welfare and social services.
You may want to apply for SNAP first if you are pregnant, postpartum, breastfeeding an infant up to one year old or have children under the age of 5. If you approved for SNAP you are generally automatically approved for WIC. Households will need to contact the local WIC and SNAP agency to apply. WIC and SNAP benefits are both deposited electronically into the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT Card). If you are using WIC and SNAP you will need to select either the WIC or SNAP from the list of options. If you are using both WIC and SNAP, you can either separate your items or select WIC to pay for the WIC eligible items and then SWIPE the card again for SNAP to cover the rest of the eligible foods.
WIC approved food lists are established separately by each state agency and are listed in the USDA Food and Nutrition Service website by state.
NYS WIC information can be found on the website: https://www.health.ny.gov/prevention/nutrition/wic/
Diego is the Communications Director for the American Heart Association in New York City. He loves sharing powerful stories that inspire people to take control of their health.