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SNAP Benefits


Erie County Work Center

158 Pearl Street
Buffalo, New York 14202


Hours of Operation: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM


How do I apply for SNAP Benefits?

To apply for SNAP Benefits, you must complete and submit an application. Application packets may be requested by phone by calling [716] 858-8000, by clicking on the link below, or requested in person at our office located at the:

Erie County Department of Social Services
158 Pearl Street 1st floor
Buffalo, New York 14202

  • You must provide your name, and address [if any], and you must sign the application before submitting it. Please include your telephone number and answer all questions as completely as possible.
  • You may submit your SNAP Benefits application online at myBenefits, by mail, fax or in person. Once it is received, you will be scheduled for an interview and an appointment notice will be sent to you by mail. Click here for myBenefits.
  • You must be interviewed for SNAP benefits. You are not required to have a face to face interview. Eligibility interviews are now conducted by phone. If you qualify for expedited service you may be interviewed on the same day you submit your application. As part of the eligibility process, you will be asked to provide certain verification documents.
  • Once an eligibility decision is made, applicants are notified by mail regarding their SNAP eligibility and benefits.



Changes to SNAP, effective Nov. 1, 2013

Monthly SNAP benefits for clients have decreased. This is because the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 - which had increased benefits as part of the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) - expired Friday, November 1. The TFP amounts and SNAP benefit calculations will be affected by this change. The maximum reduction to the monthly SNAP benefit, according to household size, is outlined in the following chart:


Household Size









Maximum Reduction to Monthly SNAP Benefit Due to the Federal ARRA TFP Decrease









Note:  For households of more than eight (8) people, add $8.00 to the amount of the reduction for each additional household member.

Some household exceptions to these reduction amounts include:

One- and two-person households whose October 2013 monthly SNAP benefit is the current minimum benefit for such households ($16); these households will have their benefit reduced to the new minimum benefit of $15.

  • One- and two-person households whose October 2013 monthly SNAP benefit is slightly above the current minimum SNAP benefit for such households; these households may have their monthly benefit reduced to the new minimum benefit of $15, which may lead to a reduction amount less than the total listed above.
  • The new maximum allotment for one and two persons is also the new Boarder/Lodger Exclusion Amounts. Therefore, cases with a Boarder/Lodger Exclusion Amount may their monthly benefit reduced by slightly more that the amount listed above.
  • Households with three or more persons whose October 2013 SNAP benefit is equal to or less than the amount of the TFP reduction, for their household size.

Effective Nov. 1, new TFP amounts, which are the maximum allowable monthly allotment of SNAP benefits by household size, include:


Household Size









Maximum Allotment









Note:  For households of more than eight (8) people, add $142 to the amount of the reduction for each additional household member.

Fair Hearings and Work Experience Implications

Federal regulations dictate that there is no right to fair hearings to dispute the reduction to benefits resulting from the TFP reduction.

A reduction in SNAP benefits may also result in a reduction in the number of hours that an individual may be assigned to participate in work experience. The maximum number of hours an individual can be assigned to work experience is limited to the sum of the household’s public assistance benefit plus SNAP benefits divided by the higher of the federal or state minimum wage. Additionally, an individual is never required to participate in work experience or other work activities for more than 40 hours per week.

Districts must review cases with individuals who have been assigned to work experience and use the reduced SNAP benefits effective Nov. 1, 2013, to determine the maximum hours that a PA or SNAP recipient may be assigned to work experience.

The ARRA expiration will not affect the following areas: Federal Poverty Level amounts, the Standard Utility Allowances, SNAP Standard Deductions, the Homeless Shelter Deduction or Maximum Excess Shelter Deduction.