If you need help getting food for your family, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can provide you with electronic benefits that work like cash to buy groceries.

Here's what you need to know and do:


  • SNAP helps low-income working people, seniors, those with disabilities, and others afford healthy food.
  • You'll get SNAP benefits on an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card, like a debit or credit card.
  • These benefits can be used to buy food at authorized stores.


  • Your eligibility depends on your household size, income, and other factors.
  • To check if you're eligible, you need to apply for SNAP.
  • The income limits vary, but your gross income (before taxes and deductions) must be within the set amounts.

Savings: You usually don't need to worry about your savings or assets when applying for SNAP. They don't count towards your eligibility.

College Students: If you're a college student, you can qualify for SNAP if you meet income requirements and one of these criteria:

  • Work at least 20 hours per week (or earn the equivalent of the federal minimum wage multiplied by 20 hours per week if self-employed).
  • Participate in a state or federally funded work-study program.
  • Provide care for dependents under six years old or those between six and twelve with no adequate childcare available.
  • Are a single parent responsible for a dependent child under 12.
  • Receive benefits from specific assistance programs.
  • Get Unemployment Benefits.
  • Enrolled full-time in higher education with a qualified career and technical education program.

Recertification: If you already receive SNAP benefits in New York State and need to renew them, follow these steps:

  • Two months before your recertification period ends, you'll receive a packet by mail with a SNAP application and interview appointment.
  • Submit your recertification application, then attend your scheduled interview.
  • If you miss the interview, reschedule it before the end of your recertification period.
  • Be prepared to provide additional documents related to your income or situation if asked.

To apply for or renew SNAP benefits in New York, you can use different methods like mail, online, fax, or in-person at your local social services office. 

For more information about SNAP, contact your local department of social services or call the toll-free OTDA Hotline: 1-800-342-3009.

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Last Reviewed: November 5, 2023