COVID-19 Pandemic SNAP Benefits
SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) issues monthly electronic benefits that can be used like the cash to purchase food at authorized retail food stores. Eligibility and benefit levels are based on household size, income, assets, and other factors.
South County Office Building
110 E. Fourth Street
Jamestown, NY 14701
North County Office Building
319 Central Ave
Dunkirk, NY 14048
Purpose & Filing an Application
The purpose of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is to reduce hunger and malnutrition for low-income households. The SNAP Program is a nationwide federal entitlement program. This means any person has the right to file an application for SNAP either directly, through an authorized representative, or by mail.
How to Apply
You can file an application online at myBenefits. The completed online Supplemental Nutrition Assistance application will be sent to the agency and you will be scheduled for a phone interview to determine eligibility. Your application will also be screened for expedited Supplemental Nutrition Assistance within five days and if you are eligible the interview will be scheduled within five days.
You can request an application by calling our office at (716) 661-8200 or (716) 363-3500. We will mail you an application and you can return it by mail, drop it off in-person, or fax to our office at (716) 661-8225. You will need to be interviewed and the interview can be done by telephone or in-person whichever you prefer.
You can come into one of our two locations which are listed above. We will give you an application. You can submit it that day as long as you have filled in your name, address (if you have one) and signed the application. It is also helpful if you can provide a phone number where we can reach you if we have questions. We will give you an appointment for a future interview which can be done by telephone or in-person.
You are responsible to complete your application completely and truthfully. At application, periodic report and recertification you must report all employment income and any unearned income such as Disability benefits, Child Support, unemployment benefits and lottery winnings. If your household currently has no income and you receive a change in income you must report the changes within 10 days after the end of the month in which the change happened. The information and proof that you provide when applying for or while receiving SNAP must be correct, complete and accurate. If you are eligible for and receive SNAP benefits, you can only use them to purchase food for your household. You cannot exchange them for cash, drugs, alcohol, tobacco products or firearms or you could be disqualified from the program.
You have the right to have your application accepted right away; even before you meet with an eligibility worker. Only your name, address (if you have one), and signature need to be completed on the state prescribed form, which is obtainable from the Dunkirk and Jamestown locations shown above.
Help Completing an Application
If you need help completing your SNAP application, you may contact the NOEP (Nutrition Outreach Education Program) by calling 716-244-7337 or toll free 877-686-9209. Walk ins and appointments are accepted at:
560 W. Third St.
Jamestown, NY 14701
Start of Benefits
For eligible households, SNAP benefits begin the day the application is filed with the department. You must have an interview to determine if you are eligible. If you file an application and you meet the rules of the SNAP Program, you have a legal right to receive them. If you qualify you will receive your SNAP benefits no later than 30 days from the date the office got your application.
SNAP benefits are for:
- Individuals or families
- People who work for low wages, work part-time or are unemployed
- People who receive TANF or Safety Net
- People who are elderly or disabled and have a limited income
- People who are homeless or are in a shelter for domestic violence
In order to complete the eligibility process, an interview with you or your authorized representative is required. The interview may be done by phone or in person. At that time, the application will be reviewed and you will be given time to submit proof of your income, expenses, and other information. Some of the documents or verification you may be asked for are, but not limited to: Identity - Birth certificate, driver's license, or other proof of your identity
Social Security Numbers - For all eligible household members, including children
- Rent receipt or lease agreement
- If you own your home, bring proof of your mortgage, taxes, and insurance
- If you live with an another individual or family, or you rent a room from
someone and you do not purchase and prepare food with this person, you
need to get a written statement of your expenses from them.
Alien Status - If you or someone in your household is a non-U.S. citizen you will need an alien registration card or proof that INS knows you are living in the U.S.
Earned Income - Pay stubs or a written statement from your employer showing week-by-week gross income, your self-employment records
Unearned Income - Most recent copy of Social Security check or copy of award letter; Unemployment Insurance Benefits, Worker's Compensation, Pension, Veterans Benefits, Child Support, Alimony, or other income
Child Care Expenses - A canceled check or copy of a money order paid to your child care provider or a written statement from your child care provider
Medical Expenses - Bring canceled checks or receipts from medical bill payments to a medical vendor or insurance premiums.
The amount of benefits the household gets is called an allotment and is based on the Thrifty Food Plan. The TFP is based on National Academy of Sciences' Recommended Dietary Allowances on food choices of low-income households and it changes yearly. The amount of your SNAP allotment will depend upon the number and ages of people in your household and the amount of income in your household. Households have to meet income tests unless all members are receiving TA, SSI, or Safety Net.
Expedited SNAP Benefits
You may be entitled to benefits issued within five calendar days following the day your application was filed with the Department if you meet certain criteria.
Electronic Benefits Issuance System (EBT)
New York State participates in the Electronic Benefits Issuance System. SNAP benefits are issued at your grocery store or super market much like a bank debit card is used. SNAP benefits can only be used for
Foods for the household to eat, such as:
- Breads and cereals
- Fruits and vegetables
- Meats, fish and poultry
- Dairy products
- Seeds and plants which produce food for the household to eat
SNAP benefits cannot be used for:
- Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco;
- Any nonfood items, such as:
- Pet foods
- Paper products
- Household supplies
- Vitamins and medicines
- Food that will be eaten in the store
- Prepared or hot foods
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT SNAP
(INCLUDING WHAT YOU CAN AND CANNOT BUY)