New York state residents who qualify for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits can expect to get their payments according to the usual schedule in December 2022. For residents of New York City, however, the schedule might look a little different from previous months.
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New York's SNAP is administered by two different agencies: the Department of Social Services Human Resources Administration is in charge of SNAP benefits in New York City, while the New York Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) oversees the rest of the state. Because there are two different agencies in charge of SNAP benefits, New York has two SNAP schedules. Your specific SNAP schedule depends on where you live.
SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, is a federal program that provides food-purchasing assistance to low-income households. Although it is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the program is administered at the state level. Those who qualify for SNAP benefits now have balances loaded on to Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards every month.
You can use the SNAP EBT card to purchase the following food items:
Fruits and vegetables
Meat, poultry and fish
Breads and cereals
Snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages
Seeds and plants, which produce food for the household to eat.
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Among the items you can't buy with SNAP benefits are alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, vitamins, medicines, supplements, live animals, pet foods, cleaning supplies, paper products and cosmetics. In New York, you also can't use your EBT card to buy hot meals prepared at the point of sale because it is not among the states that participate in SNAP's Restaurant Meals Program.
How To Score EBT Discounts
SNAP benefits in New York and elsewhere also come with perks that go beyond purchasing food - including discounts on certain products and services. Here's a quick look at money-saving opportunities your EBT card provides:
Amazon Prime: New York SNAP recipients can sign up for an Amazon Prime EBT Discount for $6.99 per month, which is 50% off the regular price.
Computers/internet/cell phones: The Lifeline federal program provides up to $9.25 off your mobile phone bill or home broadband internet service. Call your cell phone or internet provider to see if they offer this discount. The Affordable Connectivity Program also offers SNAP recipients and other qualifying customers unlimited data, texts and minutes, 10GB of mobile hotspot data and a free Android phone.
Museums/zoos/aquariums: The nationwide Museums for All initiative gives EBT cardholders free or discounted admission to hundreds of museums, aquariums and zoos across New York (as well as nationwide).
To check your eligibility for SNAP outside of NYC, you must apply for benefits. You can apply for New York SNAP through myBenefits.ny.gov or print and mail or fax the SNAP application to your local department of social services. If you live in New York City, you can apply through the online portal ACCESS HRA. You also can pick up an application at your nearest SNAP center or call the NYC Infoline at 718-557-1399 to have an application mailed to you.
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Here is the December 2022 payment schedule for New York State, excluding the five boroughs of New York City:
In New York City, payment dates might change from one month to the next. You can check your current schedule by phone at (888) 328-6399. You will need to provide your 19-digit card number. Here is the December 2022 SNAP schedule for NYC, according to the New York City Department of Social Services.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Food Stamps Schedule: New York Benefits for December 2022 and Where To Find SNAP Discounts