Should New York State Ban Food Stamp From Buying Meat And Butter?
Should New York State stop SNAP recipients from buying meat and butter with their benefits? For some reason, food stamps are always a "hot button" issue in New York. Many people feel like no food assistance should be available to people in need, whether they are working poor or can't work. Putting aside the debate over whether economically disadvantaged people should receive help, let's talk about whether the help that they do get should have limits.
When it comes to the need in New York for food assistance, it's great. According to a report by the NYS Office of Budget Policy and Analysis,
Since 2014, poverty rates in New York have surpassed the national average. In 2021, the most recent year for which data are available, almost 2.7 million New Yorkers lived in poverty, or 13.9 percent, compared to 12.8 percent of all Americans. Poverty rates are higher than 13 percent in 17 counties, and in the State’s largest cities.
What Can Anyone With SNAP Currently Buy?
SNAP is a federally funded program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Services in New York State.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) issues electronic benefits that can be used like cash to purchase food. SNAP helps low-income working people, senior citizens, the disabled and others feed their families.
Currently, in NY, people on SNAP can buy:
Breads and cereals
Fruits and vegetables
Meats, fish and poultry
Seeds and plants (to grow food)
Should New York Prevent SNAP Benefits From Buying Meat And Butter?
Iowa State Republican lawmakers have introduced a bill that would ban food stamp recipients from using assistance to buy - fresh meat, butter, flour, white rice, white bread, sliced cheese, cooking oil, herbs, spices, and coffee. The lawmakers want to free up funds to spend on things other than helping families purchase food. New York State is projected to have a hefty budget deficit. Could doing the same help NY's bottom line?
1. Heating Assistance
New Yorkers who need help paying their heating bills this winter can get money from the state now. Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the state's heating assistance program is currently accepting applications. The Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as HEAP, opened for the 2022-2023 winter season on Tuesday, November 1, 2022. Low- and middle-income residents and seniors can apply to receive up to $976 in aid. The assistance payments are distributed by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. New Yorkers who need help can receive one regular benefit per season. If a household is at risk of losing its heat due to a utility shut-off, it could also be eligible for an emergency benefit. Emergency benefits applications will be accepted starting January 3, 2023. New York residents outside of the City can apply here.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides funds for New Yorkers to buy healthy food. SNAP can provide up to $939 for a family of four to buy bread, dairy products, meats, and produce. In order to apply, recipients must be low-income. A family of four must have an annual gross income of $36,084 or less to qualify. You can check eligibility requirements here.
3. Child Care Cost Assistance
New York State has expanded childcare funding for working and low-income families. The state is distributing $2 billion to help increase the number of families that receive financial support for childcare costs. In August 2022 the eligibility of a family increased from 200 percent to 300 percent, to $83,250 for a family of four. You can get more info about childcare funding from your local Office of Children and Family Services.
4. Discounted Internet Services
Low-income New Yorkers can get discounted internet services through the Affordable Connectivity Program. The program offers residents discounts on internet and broadband services.
- Up to a $30/month discount on your internet service
- Up to a $75/month discount if your household is on qualifying Tribal lands
- A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer (with a co-payment of more than $10 but less than $50)
- A low cost service plan that may be fully covered through the ACP*
You can see if you're eligible here.
5. Temporary Assistance
Temporary assistance is also known as public assistance. It can help adults who are not employed, unable to work, or who just don't make enough money. There are several types of temporary assistance that are available, including Family Assistance, Safety Net Assistance, and Emergency Assistance. You can find more information about each here.
The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program offers assistance to pregnant women, breastfeeding women, postpartum women, and caregivers of infants and children up to age five. Get info on WIC here.