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New Snap Rule Impacts College Students By Limiting Benefits And Adding Confusion

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The new Trump administration rule makes it harder for states to waive the requirement that adults work at least 20 hours a week in order to receive their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP benefits. Some low-income college students could be affected. Danny Moloshok/APhide caption

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The new Trump administration rule makes it harder for states to waive the requirement that adults work at least 20 hours a week in order to receive their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP benefits. Some low-income college students could be affected.

Some low-income college students are among the 688,000 food stamp recipients projected to lose benefits as a result of a Trump administration rule announced Dec. 4. While the rule explicitly targets “able-bodied adults without dependents,” it also limits food assistance for a share of college students at a time when campuses across the country are grappling with how to respond to food insecurity.

The new rule makes it harder for states to waive the requirement that adults work at least 20 hours a week in order to receive their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP benefits. Policy experts say it will limit benefits for college students enrolled less than half of the time while further complicating the already confusing process of determining students’ eligibility and connecting them to resources.

Calfresh For College Students

According to the California Department of Social Services on average, more than 127,000 California college students receive CalFresh each year.

Eligible students can receive up to $250 per month to purchase eligible foods at most grocery stores, farmers markets, and online, including on Amazon.

However, more students are eligible for CalFresh than apply.

It is estimated the number of college students who are eligible for CalFresh is between 416,000 and nearly 700,000.

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“Most people who receive SNAP who can work, do work,” she says. “But there are a lot of jobs and specifically low-wage jobs out here that have volatile schedules … people can be let go at any time, so we shouldn’t allow people to go hungry just based on their ability to maintain work.”

According to National Center for Education Statistics data on unduplicated year-round enrollment, 5.8 million students were enrolled in public two-year colleges in fall 2017. About 2.1 million were full time, and 3.7 million were part time. Gilkesson says that while there are more students enrolled part time in community colleges than in four-year institutions, food insecurity exists on all types of campuses.

Yet there is no national estimate for how many college students do not have enough to eat. This was among the findings of a 2018 Government Accountability Office report that also said almost 2 million at-risk students who were potentially eligible for SNAP did not report receiving benefits in 2016.

Only 4 in 10 students who are potentially eligible for SNAP are actually enrolled in the program, according to Gilkesson. This is due to perceived stigma as well as confusion about who can apply for SNAP and how to do so.

As a SNAP worker, she saw the impact that fresh food and hot meals had on clients’ lives.

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News Your Snap Benefits Are Worth More

The City has received $5.5 million federal grant through the Fund for Public Health NYC to help increase access to nutritious foods and fight health inequities in New York City, the agency announced today.

The grant, from the United States Department of Agriculture , will support fruit and vegetable purchases from farmers markets and independent grocers by New Yorkers who participate in SNAP. The NYC Health Department and its partners will contribute matching funds representing an $11 million commitment to expanding equitable access to affordable fruits and vegetables.

The funding will support expansion of the Health Departments longstanding farmers market SNAP incentive program, Health Bucks. Farmers market customers now get $2 in Health Bucks for every $2 spent in SNAP benefits, a doubling of purchasing power, up to $10 in Health Bucks per day. Previously, customers received $2 in Health Bucks for every $5 spent in SNAP at farmers markets.

Under the grant, New York Citys innovative grocery store-based fruit and vegetable incentive program, Get the Good Stuff, will be expanded to additional stores. The program offers a dollar-for-dollar match on purchases of eligible fruits, vegetables and beans by New Yorkers with SNAP benefits at participating stores. For every $1 spent in SNAP benefits on eligible fresh, frozen, canned, and dried fruits, vegetables, and beans, program participants get $1 added to a program loyalty card, to purchase more eligible foods.

Who Else Qualifies For Food Stamps

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While the SNAP program is federally funded, each individual state determines eligibility.

Generally, those with gross incomes up to 130% of the federal poverty line qualify.

This means that about $12,880 for a single-person household is the starting point, increasing from there based on family size.

For example, $26,500 is the poverty threshold for a four-person household.

The US Department of Health website lists more poverty guidelines.

Some states have additional requirements in place, including having a certain amount of money in your bank account.

In Michigan, for example, you must have a bank balance under $2,001 between your savings and checking combined.

But if you’re someone aged 60 or over or are a person with a disability, your bank balance can be $3,251.

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What Do I Do If My Financial Circumstances Change

Changes in household circumstances which occur during the SNAP certification period may need to be reported depending on the reporting rules that apply to your household. Please refer to SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM CHANGE REPORT FORM for information about the change reporting rules that apply to your household or contact your local Department of Social Services if you have further questions.

For more information and where to apply, call 1-800-342-3009, or if in NYC call 1-877-472-8411 or 311. For more information, visit NYC Human Resources Administration.

Can I Get Calfresh If I Am A College Student

Students, ages 18 through 49 enrolled in college or other institutions of higher education at least half time, students may be able to get CalFresh if they are:

  • Physically or mentally unfit, or
  • Working at least 20 hours per week, or
  • Participating in a state or federally financed work-study program, or
  • Participating in an on-the-job training program, or
  • Receiving CalWORKs benefits, or
  • Taking care of a dependent household member under the age of 6, or
  • Taking care of a dependent household member over the age of 6 but under 12 and do not have adequate child care to be able to attend school and work a minimum of 20 hours, or take part in a state or federally financed work-study program, or
  • Single parent enrolled full time in college and taking care of a dependent household member under the age of 12, or
  • Enrolled in college as a result of participation in the Job Training Partnership Act , or the Job Opportunities and Basic Skill program under Title IV of the Social Security Act.
  • Voluntarily participating in The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act or The Extended Opportunity Programs and Services .
  • Voluntarily participating in EOP, JOBS, DSPS, CARE, MESA, Puente, McNAIR, Former Foster Youth Programs, Cal Grant A& B that meet TANF requirements.
  • Go to ACCESS HRA.
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    Where Can I Use My Snap Benefits

    You can use your New York EBT card to buy groceries and seeds or plants that produce food.

    For a list of what you can buy with your EBT card, see our post on New York SNAP Eligible list.

    Additionally, most farmers markets take EBT cards, and some double EBT dollars, including the NYC Healthy Bucks program.

    Also, you can use your SNAP EBT card to shop online for groceries, .

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    Food Stamps For New York College Students Summary


    We hope this post on Food Stamps for New York College Students was helpful to you!

    If you have more questions about your New York EBT or SNAP Benefits, please let us know in the comments section below.

    For more help on what and where you can use your New York EBT Card, check out our other articles here:

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    What Can I Purchase With Snap

    The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program , has strict rules and regulations in place regarding the use of SNAP benefits. Allowable food purchases are very specific.

    A detailed list of items that may be purchased with SNAP benefits can be found at .

    Households CAN use SNAP benefits to buy:

    Foods for the household to eat, such as, but not limited to:

    • Breads and cereals

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    What Proof Do I Need To Show If I Get Work Study Or If I Attend A Career

    To prove you receive work study, give DTA a copy of your financial aid statement or any other proof of federal or state funded work study. You qualify as a work study recipient if you attend a public or a private college.

    To prove you are enrolled in a career or technical education program at a community college, DTA has a one-page form that you can ask the college to sign. Or, you can submit a letter from the college that states you are enrolled and that your degree or certificate program will lead to employment. Also give DTA proof that you are enrolled in college.

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    How To Get Food Stamps As A College Student

    SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps, is paid through Electronic Benefit Transfer cards that work like debit cards and can be used to buy food.

    Every state has its own application form residents must fill out in order to receive SNAP benefits. Apply through the nearest SNAP office in your state of residence using the USDA national map. You can also call your state’s SNAP hotline number. Applicants receive notice of whether or not they are found eligible for benefits within 30 days.

    If you are eligible, you will receive an EBT card and be notified of how long you may receive monthly benefits, known as a certification period. The amount of money loaded onto an EBT card for each month in the certification period varies based on income and expenses.

    SNAP income and resource limits are updated annually. From Oct. 1, 2021 through Sept. 30, 2022, a household of one may net up to $1,074 monthly and receive up to $250 per month. During the pandemic, SNAP benefits may increase.

    SNAP benefits may be used to buy any food items:

    • Fruits and vegetables
    • Snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages
    • Food-producing seeds and plants

    SNAP benefits may NOT be used to buy:

    • Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, or tobacco
    • Vitamins, medicines, and supplements
    • Live animals
    • Foods that are hot at the point of sale
    • Pet food

    What Happens After I Apply


    After you apply for SNAP, you must attend an interview and submit your verification documents.

    If you are approved, you should receive your New York EBT card within 30 days of submitting your application.

    If your situation is urgent you may receive an expedited review and get your EBT card within 5 days of applying.

    For more on Expedited SNAP, see our post on Emergency SNAP Application.

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    Are You A College Student Who’s Struggling To Buy Enough Food

    You may be eligible for help buying groceries because of the COVID relief bill passed in December.

    As of January 14, 2021, temporary new flexibilities for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program were put into place through the Emergency Coronavirus Relief Act . These flexibilities will make approximately 6 million additional college students eligible for SNAP benefits, which you can use to purchase groceries. If you meet the following criteria, you may qualify for SNAP and should complete an application:

    Enrolled as a student in a higher education institution at least half-time.

    Have an expected family contribution of $0 based on your FAFSA/Student Aid Report OR are eligible to participate in state or federal work-study.

    Your income is under 185% of the federal poverty level .

    Who Is Not Subject To Abawd Requirements

    A SNAP recipient who meets any of the following conditions is not subject to ABAWD work requirements but, in some instances may still be required to participate in work activities that are assigned under public assistance and/or SNAP employment and training:

    • A person under 18 years of age, or 50 years of age or older
    • An adult in a SNAP household with a child under 18 years of age
    • A person responsible for the care of an incapacitated person
    • A pregnant woman
    • Physically or mentally unable to work at least 80 hours a month
    • A regular participant in an alcohol or substance abuse rehabilitation program
    • A recipient of Veterans Affairs disability compensation
    • A recipient of disability benefits from a public or private source, such as Social Security Disability Insurance or NYS disability benefits
    • A recipient or pending receipt of Unemployment Insurance Benefits
    • A student enrolled in any recognized school, job skills training, or institution of higher education at least half-time and meeting the student eligibility criteria to receive SNAP
    • An applicant for SNAP benefits and Supplemental Security Income jointly or in receipt of SSI
    • Employed or self-employed and working at least 30 hours per week or receiving weekly earnings at least equal to the federal minimum wage times 30

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    North Carolina Expands Eligibility For Food Assistance Benefits To College Students During Pandemic To Purchase Food And Stay In School

    The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services today announced it is expanding eligibility for food assistance benefits to help college students who are struggling to purchase food and stay in school during the pandemic.

    Some college students in North Carolina are now eligible to receive assistance through the Food and Nutrition Services program under this temporary change of benefits approved by the federal government.

    The U.S. Department of Education recently announced this additional assistance for college students and institutions through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund grants program. The additional assistance provides ongoing relief from the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Act of 2020 and will be in effect until 30 days after the COVID-19 public health emergency is lifted.

    Reducing food insecurity, especially during this pandemic, is a top priority for the department, said NCDHHS Chief Deputy Secretary for Opportunity and Well-Being Susan Gale Perry. These benefits will help our college students stay in school and be able to safely get proper nutrition needed to learn and thrive.

    Eligible students who have applied for FNS benefits will receive an Electronic Benefits Transfer card, similar to a debit card, that can be used to purchase food at a grocery store, farmers markets or online through Amazon, Walmart, Aldi, BJs Wholesale Club, Food Lion, Carli Cs and Publix.

    Wait For Decision On Application

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    Once you have completed the interview and submitted any required documents, the next step in the process is to wait for a decision on your application:

    The county CDSS office will send you a letter in the mail within 30 days of submitting your application.

    If you do not hear back in 30 days, call the county CalFresh office.

    If you are approved for CalFresh, you will receive a Calfornia EBT Card.

    Your EBT Benefits card will be mailed and PIN will be mailed separately.

    Be sure to complete SAR 7 Eligibility Status Report Form to maintain your CalFresh benefits. Instructions for SAR 7 are found here.

    If you are denied CalFresh, you can appeal the decision.

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    What Is An Abawd Required To Do

    To maintain eligibility for SNAP benefits for more than three months in the 36-month period that started January 1, 2019, an ABAWD must complete and document participation in one of the following each month:

    • Work for at least 80 hours per month
    • Participate in a qualifying work/training program approved by the social services district for at least 80 hours per month
    • Comply with a Work Experience Program assignment for the number of hours per month equal to the SNAP grant divided by the higher of the federal or State minimum wage.
    • Participate in an employment and training program for veterans operated by the Department of Labor or the Department of Veteranââ¬â¢s Affairs for at least 80 hours per month.
    • Participate in a program under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act or Trade Act which may include job search, job readiness, occupational skills training and education activities for at least 80 hours a month or
    • Participate in a combination of work or qualifying work programs for at least 80 hours a month.

    Note: New York State is currently operating under a federal waiver of the ABAWD time limit in all areas of the State for the period October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2022 so no ABAWD is subject to the time limit requirement during this period.

    You Can Apply For Snap Online

  • Go to ACCESS HRA.
  • Select SNAP Apply. Complete the online application. You will be asked several questions about yourself and your household . Some questions will require you to submit documents with your application to verify the information you provide . You can upload your supporting documents using the ACCESS HRA mobile app.
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