CDPAP Resources

Applying for SNAP Benefits in New York

Applying for SNAP Benefits in New York

SNAP Benefits, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, are designed to assist various groups of people who struggle to afford food. SNAP is intended to reduce food insecurity and improve nutrition by providing food-purchasing assistance for low- and no-income individuals and families in New York.

Applying for SNAP benefits in New York can be complicated, but it’s essential for low-income families needing food assistance. This article is intended to simplify the application process by sharing the eligibility criteria and what documents are necessary to apply. While not guaranteed, people who qualify for Medicaid often also qualify for SNAP benefits. Whether you’re a family member, close friend or caregiver, we will walk you through how to receive SNAP benefits.

Who’s Eligible for SNAP Benefits?

To find out if you qualify for SNAP benefits in New York, you must meet certain eligibility criteria, including:

Income Requirements – While it can vary based on household size, generally households with incomes at or below 130% of the federal poverty level are eligible for SNAP benefits.

U.S. citizen or legal immigrant – You must be a U.S. citizen or have permanent resident status to be eligible for SNAP benefits. To receive SNAP benefits in NYC, you must currently live within the five boroughs of New York City.

Household size – The size of your household will impact your eligibility and benefit amount. A larger household may qualify for more assistance than a smaller one.

Resource Limits – Households may have a certain amount of resources, such as cash or bank accounts, which are considered when determining eligibility.

Employment Requirements – Able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) must meet work requirements to receive benefits for more than three months in a 36-month period.

Remember, even if your household doesn’t meet all the criteria, you might still qualify for emergency assistance during tough times.

How to Apply for SNAP Benefits in New York

Knowing the process and what information is necessary can make applying for SNAP Benefits in New York straightforward. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the application process:

  1. Before starting your application, collect all necessary personal information and documentation, including your ID or birth certificate, the Social Security number of each member applying for benefits, proof of residency, income details, and household expenses. A full list will be discussed next.
  2. There are three ways to apply. For online applications, you can create an account by visiting the official website and apply for SNAP benefits online. Applications can also be found and submitted at your local Department of Social Services (DDS) office or you can mail/fax the application to your local DDS office.
  3. If you’re applying online, once your account is set up, you can start filling out the SNAP application form. The form will ask for details about your household, income, and expenses. Take your time to ensure that all information is accurate and complete.
  4. After filling out the application, review all information to confirm that all details are correct and all documentation is current. Once you’re satisfied, submit your application.
  5. After submitting your application, an HRA representative will contact you to schedule an interview. The interview can take place over the phone or be in person. Be prepared to discuss your household situation, income, and other relevant details.

After the interview is complete, the HRA will review your application and interview responses. The typical review and decision is complete within 30 days and you’ll be notified by mail if you qualify for SNAP benefits and, if so, how much assistance you will receive. If approved, you will receive an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card through the mail. This card works like a debit card and can be used to purchase eligible food items at participating grocery stores, markets and some online retailers.

Documents Required to Apply for SNAP Benefits

When applying for SNAP benefits in New York, you need to provide various documents to verify your eligibility. Here’s a list of the typical documentation required:


  • Proof of Identity: Driver’s license, state ID card, birth certificate, or other government-issued ID.
  • Social Security Numbers: For all household members applying for benefits.


  • Proof of Residency: Lease, utility bill, mortgage statement, or official mail showing your current address.


  • Proof of Income: Pay stubs, tax returns, or a letter from an employer detailing your earnings.
  • Self-Employment Income: Recent tax returns and business records.
  • Other Income: Documentation of child support, unemployment benefits, Social Security benefits, pensions, or other sources of income.


  • Housing Costs: Rent or mortgage receipts, property tax statements, homeowner’s insurance bills.
  • Utility Costs: Utility bills (electric, gas, water, phone).
  • Medical Expenses: For elderly or disabled household members, include receipts or bills for out-of-pocket medical expenses.
  • Childcare Expenses: Receipts or statements from childcare providers.


  • Bank Accounts: Recent bank statements.
  • Other Financial Resources: Statements for retirement accounts, stocks, bonds, or other investments.

Additional Documentation:

  • Citizenship or Immigration Status: Proof of citizenship or legal residency for all household members applying for benefits.
  • Proof of Disability: If applicable, include documentation such as a letter from a doctor or proof of SSI or SSDI benefits. 
  • Household Composition: Documentation showing the names and ages of all household members, such as birth certificates or school records.

Ensure that all documents are current and accurate to avoid delays in the application process. If you need assistance with gathering or submitting documentation, your local DSS offices or community organizations can provide support.

What If You Need Benefits Right Away?

If you are facing an emergency situation and need immediate food assistance, you may be eligible for expedited SNAP benefits. This means that your application will be processed within five days rather than the standard 30-day timeframe.

To qualify for expedited SNAP benefits, you must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Your gross monthly income is below $150, and you possess less than $100 in liquid resources (such as cash or money in bank accounts).
  • Your current monthly gross income plus available resources are less than your monthly rent/mortgage and utility costs.
  • You are part of a migrant or seasonal farm worker household, and your combined net income and assets do not exceed your monthly shelter and utility costs.
  • You are homeless (In this case, your application will be expedited regardless of income or resources).

If you meet one of these criteria, make sure to notify the HRA representative during your application interview to receive expedited benefits. 

Helpful Resources

Applying for SNAP benefits can feel overwhelming so New York has resources available to help you through the process. Here are some resources that may be helpful:

SNAP Centers: These centers provide in-person assistance with applying for SNAP benefits and other social services, and may offer guidance on home care services.

Food Banks and Pantries: If you need immediate food assistance while waiting for your SNAP application to be processed, you can visit a local food bank or pantry.

SNAP Outreach Programs: These programs assist individuals and families with the application process and can answer any questions about SNAP eligibility or benefits.

SNAP Hotline: The NY SNAP hotline (888-328-6399) can answer any questions or concerns about the application process or your benefits.