Instead of struggling to feed yourself and your family, it would be best to apply for food stamps to help you through the tough times. Never be ashamed of seeking help when you need it. However, it would be wise to arm yourself with the correct information, such as how to qualify and where to go for help, before you apply for food stamps.
How to Qualify for SNAP Benefits
Typically, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits are available for low-income households, people with disabilities and senior citizens. And they range from a maximum allotment of $250 to $1,504 per month for a household of between one to eight people. Every extra person beyond that will get $188 each.
However, rules determine who gets to qualify. And part of the process may involve you getting interviewed.
Below are some eligibility criteria you should know.
- You must be a resident of New York.
- You should provide proof of identity, citizenship status, disability, residential address, income and other documents you may be asked to present.
- Households of between one to eight people without earned income should earn a maximum income of $1,396 to $4,839 per month. For those with more people than that, the income limit can increase by $492 per month per person without jeopardizing access to food stamps.
- Households of between one to eight people with earned income but with no elderly or disabled member can earn a maximum income of $1,610 to $5,583 per month. For those with more people than that, the income limit can increase by $568 per month per person without jeopardizing access to food stamps.
- Households of between one to eight people with an elderly or disabled member or those with dependent care expenses can earn a gross income of $2,147 to $7,443 per month. For those with more people than that, the income limit can increase by $757 per month per person without jeopardizing access to food stamps.
- Your savings and checking account balances should be $2,000 or less if you are alone and have no disability. Alternatively, you should have $3,000 or less in those accounts if you are disabled, live in a household with a disabled family member or have an older adult aged 60 years or older.
You can also qualify for food stamps as a student in New York if you meet several specified criteria. For example, you could work for 20 hours each week and earn at least the federal minimum wage.
Alternatively, you could take part in a state or federally financed work-study program. Be sure to read through the eligibility criteria to see whether you meet at least one.
How to Apply for Food Stamps in Queens
If you need SNAP benefits in Queens, you can apply for them through several channels.
1. Call for Help
The easiest thing to do is find information on SNAP benefits in Queens by phone by reaching out to the relevant social services authorities using the toll-free OTDA Hotline: 1-800-342-3009. You could also call your local Human Resources Administration (HRA) Infoline using the number: 718-557-1399.
You will then receive instructions on how to apply for food stamps. That information may include the address and phone of the nearest SNAP benefits office in Queens near you. It may also help you get your application by mail or guide you to print and submit your application.
2. Apply in Person
When you reach out to the relevant authorities by phone, you will get physical office addresses in Queens near you, where you could go and apply for SNAP benefits. These may include SNAP centers and offices of community-based organizations (CBOs). The enrollment sites may schedule you at different times, depending on what language you speak and when you are available.
For example, there is a government office at 32-20 Northern Boulevard, Long Island City, 1st & 2nd floor, Queens 11101, with the entrance on One Honeywell Street. If your needs cannot be met over the phone, you could pass by that food stamp office in Queens and ask for help applying.
3. Apply Online
You can visit the website mybenefits.ny.gov to apply for food stamps online. The site will then direct you to the ACCESS HRA portal, through which you can apply by selecting your native language and following the prompts.
Remember, you could also use the mobile version of the portal to submit your digitized application documents. You can download it from Google Play or App Store.
4. Apply by Mail or Fax
You can also apply by mail or fax for food stamps if you have printed out your application document.
If you choose to fax them, use the number: 917-639-2544.
And you could also mail them to:
Centralized Recertification Mail Unit
PO Box 29008
Brooklyn, NY 11202
When you meet the eligibility criteria, apply and get approved, you will begin to receive your SNAP benefits within 30 days. However, there is an expedited process if you are in severe financial trouble. And that process will take about five days. So, be sure to submit all the relevant information the first time around to prevent delays.
- NY.Gov: Apply for SNAP
- NY.Gov: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Benefits.Gov: New York State Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
- Benefits Checkup.org: New York Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- GrowNYC: SNAP Enrollment Sites
- NYC.Gov: Queens Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Center
- Mybenefits.ny.gov: Begin
- NYC.Gov: Welcome to ACCESS HRA
- NYC.Gov: ACCESS HRA Mobile
- NYC.Gov: SNAP Benefits
I have been a freelance writer since 2011. When I am not writing, I enjoy reading, watching cooking and lifestyle shows, and fantasizing about world travels.