There are many local, state, and federal programs that provide money and discounts to help people experiencing food insecurity buy groceries. Many times, these benefits can also be used at farmstores, farmers’ markets and on local food.
Below is an extensive listing of the many food assistance benefits available in the Adirondack region. More information can be found at the official webpage for each program.
You can find farmstores, farmers’ markets and local food retail locations that accept some of the benefits listed below here.
What is SNAP?
SNAP, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is a federal program designed to assist low-income families with affording groceries. Formerly known as food stamps, SNAP is the nation’s largest anti-hunger program, reaching tens of millions of Americans each year.
Who qualifies for SNAP?
Households whose gross income is below 130% of the federal poverty level are generally eligible for SNAP. These levels are listed in the chart below.
|Monthly gross income
|Annual gross income
|Each additional person
In determining the SNAP benefit amount, the household size, all sources of the household’s income, shelter costs, dependent care costs, and sometimes medical costs are considered. A household’s monthly SNAP allotment can range from $20 to over $1,000 depending on household size. The average SNAP benefit for households in New York is $230/month. The maximum monthly allotments per household size are outlined below.
|For each additional member
Certain groups of people are ineligible for SNAP including unauthorized immigrants, individuals on strike, and some college students. Additionally, SNAP upholds a work requirement for unemployed adults. These individuals are only authorized for 3 months of SNAP within a three year period to incentivize seeking employment. However, the work requirement and three month limit are currently suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
How can you apply for SNAP?
There are several ways to apply for SNAP in New York. The easiest method is often to apply online through mybenefits.ny.gov. The online application portal is easy and sends the application right to the local district social services office. Paper applications can also be filed with the Department of Social Services (DSS) in person, by mail, or by fax. The SNAP application can be found online and printed here. Instructions for filling out the SNAP application can be found here. The contact information (website, address, and phone number) for each county’s DSS office can be found here. The application is moderately involved and on average takes about 30 minutes to complete.
Many NY counties have a Nutrition Outreach Education Program (NOEP) coordinator whose job is to assist individuals with applying for SNAP. Check here to see if your county has a NOEP coordinator and how to contact them.
What format do SNAP benefits come in?
SNAP benefits are issued to recipients on an EBT (electronic benefit transfer) card. The card resembles the example below and is used like a debit card. When purchasing food, the card is swiped and the recipient enters their pin. It is automatically reloaded with SNAP funds at the start of each month. Users can check their EBT balance here.
SNAP is also increasingly accepted for online grocery shopping through services such as Instacart and Amazon. Click here to find out where SNAP can be used online in NY.
What foods can be purchased with SNAP?
Generally, most grocery items can be purchased with SNAP. These include items such as fruits and vegetables; meat, poultry, and fish; dairy products; breads and cereals; snack foods; spices; non-alcoholic beverages; and seeds and food-producing plants. SNAP cannot be used to purchase non-food items. It also cannot be used to purchase alcohol; hot, prepared food; and vitamins, medicines, or supplements.
What is p-EBT?
Pandemic benefits, or p-EBT, are SNAP funds provided to families whose children stopped receiving free school meals when schools went remote during the pandemic. These funds are provided to families to help support the extra cost required of providing lunch and/or breakfast for their children. For those with an existing EBT card, the funds go directly to their card. For those without a previous EBT card, a new one is mailed to them.
How do you use SNAP at farmers’ markets?
Many farmers’ markets in New York now accept SNAP! To find a farmers’ market near you that accepts SNAP, check our browse page. To use SNAP at a farmers’ market, simply bring your EBT card to the market and find the stand that operates SNAP exchange. Market volunteers or employees will swipe your card for the amount you wish to take off and spend at the market. They will then give you that amount in $1 wooden tokens. These tokens can then be spent on SNAP-eligible foods sold at the market by participating vendors. Tokens do not expire and can be used from week-to-week. The tokens will resemble the example below.
Double Up Food Bucks
What is Double Up Food Bucks?
Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) is a SNAP matching program, designed to stretch SNAP dollars towards the purchase of fruits and vegetables. This program is carried out at select farmers’ markets, local food vendors, and retail locations. Up to $20, for every $2 in SNAP spent, the customer receives a matching $2 to spend on produce. This is per SNAP user and can only be redeemed once per market per day. A list of DUFB-accepting vendors in the Adirondacks can be found on our Browse page, and a complete list of vendors in the state can be found here.
Who is eligible for Double Up Food Bucks?
All SNAP users at the DUFB-accepting location are eligible, and should automatically be granted the matching funds with their SNAP purchase/SNAP token exchange.
What format does Double Up Food Bucks come in?
Currently, most DUFB locations use DUFB tokens. These are silver $2 tokens that resemble the below picture. These tokens do not expire.
Some locations use a DUFB loyalty card. These cards are the same shape, size, and material as an EBT card and resemble the picture below. When a customer makes a SNAP purchase at a DUFB location, the corresponding points are automatically loaded on to their DUFB loyalty card, then available to be spent on produce. These cards can be used at any DUFB loyalty card in the state and the funds don’t expire.
A few other locations use a DUFB coupon. These coupons are scannable and provide a 50% off discount on fruit and vegetable purchases.
Do you apply for Double Up Food Bucks?
At farmers’ markets and locations where the DUFB currency is tokens, recipients do not need to apply. The matching tokens should automatically be issued with their SNAP purchase/exchange.
For locations where the currency is coupons or the loyalty card, customers do need to sign-up and complete a short application process. To sign-up, customers visit an employee/cashier at the front of the store, who are trained in registering the cards and coupons. Locally, the two loyalty card locations are the Hub on the Hill in Essex and the Farmacy in Keeseville. The best way to sign-up and receive a loyalty card is through a Keeseville Farmacy staff member. Their cashiers are trained in registering loyalty cards, whereas the Hub on the Hill operates a self-service model without cashiers. AdkAction also has a dedicated DUFB liaison who can register individuals. To learn more or receive assistance enrolling for a loyalty card, contact email@example.com
Additionally, individuals who register for AdkAction’s Fair Food Pricing Program (more information below), can enroll in DUFB through that application.
What foods can be purchased with Double Up Food Bucks?
DUFB can only be spent on fruits, vegetables, and seeds or food-producing plants.
What is Fresh Connect?
Fresh Connect is a SNAP incentive program implemented at farmers’ markets throughout the state. For every $5 of SNAP redeemed at the market, a customer receives a $2 coupon. There is no maximum to the amount of coupons a customer can receive.
Who is eligible for Fresh Connect?
All SNAP users at the DUFB-accepting location are eligible, and should automatically be granted the coupons with their SNAP purchase/SNAP token exchange.
Do you apply for Fresh Connect?
Individual SNAP users do not need to apply to use or receive Fresh Connect.
What format does Fresh Connect come in?
Fresh Connect comes in the form of $2 coupons, presented at the farmers’ market. The coupons are similar to the example below.
What foods can be purchased with Fresh Connect?
Fresh Connect coupons can be spent on all SNAP-eligible foods.
Fair Food Program
What is Fair Food Program?
Fair Food (formerly “Fair Food Pricing”) is a food subsidy program that helps local people access locally sourced, farm fresh foods. We work with farmers and food processors who not only grow or produce food locally, but who also value humane care of livestock and sustainable agriculture.
Who is eligible for the Fair Food Program?
All SNAP recipients residing in the Adirondack Park are eligible for the FFP. Additionally, other low and middle income families who don’t qualify for SNAP may still be eligible. FFP eligibility is based off of United Way’s ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) scale. The income levels based on family size are outlined below, or you can use AdkAction’s online interactive tool to find out if you qualify.
|Number of children in the household
|1 child in childcare
|1 child in school
|2 children in childcare
|2 children in school
|2 children: 1 in childcare, 1 in school
|3 children: 2 in childcare, 1 in school
|3 children: 2 in school, 1 in childcare
|3 children in school
|One senior: $30,408
|Two seniors: $45,852
How do you apply for Fair Food Pricing?
You can apply for FFP online here. The application is straightforward and only takes a few minutes.
What foods can be purchased with the Fair Food Program?
FFP can be spent on all SNAP-eligible foods.
What is WIC?
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, or WIC, is a federal program designed to improve the health and nutrition of mothers and young children. Similar to SNAP, WIC provides funds to purchase approved foods. However, unlike SNAP, WIC provides many other complimentary services, such as nutrition advice, breastfeeding support, and referrals to other useful services based on the family’s needs.
Who is eligible for WIC?
Low-income women who are either pregnant or a mother to a child under age 5 are eligible for WIC. Fathers and caregivers may also apply for WIC for their children who are under 5. Typically, applicants must meet three qualifications. They must be a resident of the state in which they’re applying, deemed to be at “nutritional risk” by a healthcare provider, and receive income at or below 185% of the federal poverty line. These qualifications mean that even undocumented immigrants can participate and benefit from WIC.
How do you apply for WIC?
Unlike SNAP and other assistance programs, WIC does not have an online application. To apply for WIC, you must first set up an appointment with your local WIC agency. To find your local agency you can refer to this list of WIC providers in New York or you can call the Growing Up Healthy hotline at 800-522-5006. Before your initial appointment, refer to this list to know which documents to bring with you.
What format does WIC come in?
WIC benefits are provided on an eWIC card, similar to a SNAP EBT card. The eWIC card resembles the one below.
What foods can be purchased with WIC?
Since nutrition and health of mothers and children is at the heart of WIC, the eligible foods are more restricted than assistance such as SNAP. WIC-approved foods are deemed eligible based on their nutrition facts and on the dietary guidelines set forth by the USDA. WIC recipients receive a WIC shopping list from the agency to help clarify what can and cannot be purchased with their eWIC card. To view a list of eligible WIC foods and brands in New York, click here.
What are FMNP checks?
The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) provides WIC recipients and eligible seniors with “checks” or vouchers that can be redeemed at eligible farmers’ markets and farm stands. FMNP checks often come in a packet of six $4 vouchers. These checks can be used to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables and food-bearing seeds or plants. They are issued annually to all WIC recipients as well as low-income seniors.
Who receives FMNP checks?
All WIC recipients as well as low-income seniors receive FMNP checks.
Do you have to apply for FMNP checks?
Recipients do not need to apply for FMNP checks. They are automatically issued to WIC participants as well as eligible seniors often through participation in the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) or another eligibility program. In the Adirondacks, CSFP is not present, so seniors receive these checks through the Office For the Aging. To be eligible, the senior’s income must be at or below 185% of the federal poverty level.
What format does FMNP come in?
FMNP is offered as “checks” or vouchers, often in a booklet of 6, each worth $4. These checks can be redeemed at eligible farmers’ markets and farm stands. The checks are similar to the example below.
What foods can be purchased with FMNP checks?
FMNP checks are only to purchase fruits and vegetables at approved FMNP vendors (farmers’ markets and farmstands, not grocery stores).
If you are in immediate need of food, find a comprehensive listing of food pantries in the Adirondack region here.