How to Use This Guide

Hunger Solutions New York’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) prescreening guide is designed for human service agencies, advocates, and volunteers working with low-income households who wish to:

  • Determine which households may qualify for SNAP benefits,
  • Estimate a household’s SNAP benefit allotment,
  • Assist potentially eligible households through the SNAP application process, and
  • Assist current SNAP participants in the recertification process.

Contained in this guide are:

On the right (on desktop) and beneath headings and subheadings on mobile and tablet throughout the guide there are policy references like these:


To help demystify them, here is an explanation of each:

SNAPSB SECTION 3: PG. 6: this refers to a section of the SNAP Sourcebook (SNAPSB), which details New York State policy and includes SNAP administration instructions for local districts.

03-ADM-03; 10-INF-22: these refer to OTDA SNAP policy memoranda issued through administrative directives (ADMs), informational letters (INFs), local commissioner memoranda (LCMs), and General Information Messages (GIS).

Throughout the guide, you will find links to helpful resources related to the section’s content. Additional resources can be found in Hunger Solutions New York’s online resource library.

This guide only briefly addresses SNAP work rules. The New York State Temporary Assistance and SNAP Employment Policy Manual provides a comprehensive explanation of SNAP’s employment and training requirements.

Hunger Solutions New York updates this guide periodically to reflect policy changes, including the yearly October 1 SNAP standards/deductions/adjustments.

Hunger Solutions New York encourages advocates to try to resolve problems encountered when assisting someone with the SNAP application or recertification process by communicating with local SNAP offices.

Common Acronyms and Terms

ABAWD Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents

ABLE Achieving a Better Life Experience

ADA Americans with Disabilities Act

ADM Administrative Directive—issued by OTDA to notify LDSS about policies and procedures that must be followed in the administration of programs 

CAP Combined Application Project

Cat el Categorical Eligibility

CTE Career and Technical Education 

DSS Department of Social Services—the county-level SNAP administering agency (see also LDSS) 

DHS Department of Homeland Security

E&T Employment and Training Program

EBT Electronic Benefits Transfer—a system of disbursing temporary assistance and SNAP benefits to households, using a swipe card 

EFC Expected Family Contribution

EITCs Earned Income Tax Credits 

EOC Educational Opportunity Center

ESAP Elderly Simplified Application Project


FEDS Front End Detection System

FNS Food and Nutrition Service —the division of USDA responsible for administering SNAP and child nutrition programs 

FPL Federal Poverty Level

GIS General Information System Messages—issued by OTDA to provide immediate direction to SNAP offices about current OTDA program policies and procedures

GIT Gross Income Test

HEAP Home Energy Assistance Program

HRA Human Resources Administration —New York City’s Department of Social Services

IDA Individual Development Account

INF Informational Letter—issued by OTDA, these letters include articles of general interest to SNAP office staff, including pamphlets or brochures, new or revised lists of contacts, etc.

IPV Intentional Program Violation—disqualification imposed on someone who has committed fraud

LDSS Local Department of Social Services—the county-level SNAP administering agency. Also referred to as the SNAP office. (see also DSS)

LEP Limited English Proficiency

LPR Lawful (or Legal) Permanent Resident—also known as “Green Card” holder

MA Medicaid

MARU Mail-In Application Referral Unit—HRA initiative in NYC that encourages households to apply for SNAP through mail or fax

NTA/NPA Non-Temporary Assistance/Non-Public Assistance—household in which no one receives temporary assistance

NoMI Notice of Missed Interview

NYSNIP New York State Nutrition Improvement Project—program that provides automatic SNAP benefits to SSI live-alone recipients

OJT On the Job Training

OTDA Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (also referred to as NYSOTDA)—the state agency responsible for administering SNAP in New York State

PARIS Public Assistance Reporting Information 

RA Rehabilitation Act

SN/SNA Safety Net Assistance—temporary assistance program for households without children and households that have exceeded the five-year TANF time limit

SNAP Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—formerly the Food Stamp Program

SNAPSB Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Source Book—New York State administrative policy manual

SSA Social Security Administration

SSD/SSDIB Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits

SSI Supplemental Security Income—cash assistance program for low-income elderly (65+) and disabled individuals, administered by SSA

SSN Social Security Number

SUA Standard Utility Allowance

TA Temporary Assistance—generic term for SNA and TANF— also known as cash assistance, public assistance or welfare

TANF Temporary Assistance for Needy Families—the temporary assistance program for families with children, also known as Family Assistance 

TBA Transitional Benefits Alternative—transitional SNAP for people leaving TANF

UIB Unemployment Insurance Benefits

USCIS United States Citizenship and Immigration Services—the federal immigration agency formerly known as INS—Immigration and Naturalization Service

USDA United States Department of Agriculture—administers SNAP on the federal level

WEP Work Experience Program

WIA Workforce Investment Act

WIOA Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

Organizational Structure of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

United States Congress

Congress authorizes SNAP through the Farm Bill every five years.

United States department of Agriculture (USDA)

Federal agency responsible for administration of SNAP.

Issues SNAP regulations and policies. Monitors state agency performance.

Office of Temporary and disability Assistance (OTDA)

Responsible for administering SNAP in New York State.

Issues state regulations, policy directives and trains and monitors local Departments of Social Services.

Responsible for administration of state SNAP Employment & Training Plan and ABAWD policies.

Local department of Social Services (LDSS) or Human Resource Administration (HRA) in NYC

County government agency that determines SNAP eligibility and issues benefits to eligible households.

Households apply for SNAP through their LDSS/HRA.