Food Stamps consist of credits on an electronic benefits card or EBT in lieu of cash for the purchase of food for home. The Food Stamp Program is administered in Erie County by the Erie County Assistance Office located at 1316 Holland Street in Erie. The phone number is 461--2000 or 1-800-635-1014. Whether you and your family are eligible for Food Stamps is dependent on two factors: 1) your household's income and 2) resources; each household's monthly income, after deductions such as wages from employment, utilities, rent or mortgage, is considered in determining eligibility and the number of your Food Stamps. Income includes wages or net self-employment income or unearned income such as Unemployment Insurance Benefits. Resources are things you own including cash on hand or in the bank, stocks, bonds, insurance settlements, tax refunds, money prizes, and inheritances. Certain resources are not counted such as your home, personal and household belongings, a vehicle used directly for employment (taxi for example), and the first $4,500.00 in the value of one other vehicle is currently licensed.
You do not have to apply for any other assistance program in order to apply for or receive food stamps, and no lien will be placed on your home because you are receiving food stamps.
If you currently have no income and do not expect to have any income within the next ten days, you may be able to receive Food Stamps within three days from the date you file your application under the expedited Food Stamp procedure. Speak with the Case Worker at the Assistance Office about expedited Food Stamps if you think you may be eligible.
The regulations governing the Food Stamp Program are complicated. Mistakes are accidentally made. If your application for Food Stamps is denied or you believe you are entitled to more Food Stamps than you were granted, the level of Food Stamp benefits you are receiving is being reduced, or you are being terminated from the program, you have the legal right to seek review of that decision. The notice telling you your application has been rejected or that your current Food Stamps are being reduced or terminated tells you whom to contact and how to appeal a decision you feel is wrong.
In order to determine your eligibility for Food Stamps, telephone the Erie County Assistance Office at 461-2000 or 1-800-635-1014 for an appointment. 3/11
If you need to consult with an attorney, please contact the Erie County Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service.