Governor Andrew M. CuomoALBANY, N.Y. /New York Netwire/ — NY Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York State has received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to extend certification periods for households that are receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, formerly known as Food Stamps, so that these families do not lose their benefits due to Hurricane Sandy. Under federal rules, households must recertify their eligibility on a regular basis to continue receiving SNAP benefits.

New York City and Nassau, Rockland, Suffolk, Westchester, Orange, Putnam and Sullivan Counties may now extend certification periods for SNAP households that are set to expire in October and November by one month. These extensions will help ensure that households unable to recertify at this time due to Hurricane Sandy do not lose access to SNAP benefits. This will also ease the administrative burden faced by the impacted local departments of social services that are recovering from the disaster.

“This extension will give New Yorkers who receive SNAP benefits in hard hit areas more time to recertify for benefits so that they do not lose eligibility because of the storm,” Governor Cuomo said. “Our immediate priority is helping New Yorkers recover as quickly as possible, and I thank the USDA for their support.”

Households whose certification periods are extended through November will have until the end of November to complete recertification; those whose certification periods are extended through December will have until the end of December. New York State and the impacted counties will be informing clients of the certification period extension via public notices.

Governor Cuomo today also announced that SNAP recipients in five additional New York City zip codes are now eligible to automatically receive 50 percent of their October monthly SNAP benefit amount to replace food lost as a result of the storm. These five zip codes (10038, 11224, 11251, 10029 and 10039) are being added to the previously announced list of 77 zip codes in New York City and seven other counties.

Additional zip codes in New York City that experienced extended power loss may be added as more details about the number of households affected becomes available. The updated list can be found here:

Recipients in all five boroughs and the other seven counties affected can purchase hot and prepared foods with their benefits through the end of November, which under federal regulations, is not usually allowed.