‘I’m just waiting and waiting,’ more families without SNAP because of UI money

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(WHEC) — News10NBC is starting to pinpoint help for families caught in a problem we’re investigating all week. They are families who suffered COVID-related layoffs and got unemployment. But because unemployment paid so much in the pandemic, their food stamps were cut.

And now they’ve lost both.

We got his questions in front of the county leaders Thursday.

Collin Jones, UI money cut off SNAP: "I saw your news report last night and I got the same exact letter everyone else got."

Collin Jones is a musician. His letter from the Monroe County Department of Social Services arrived in April telling him his food stamps are cut.

Collin Jones: "It informed me on May 10th I will be losing my SNAP benefits."

SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Dozens and dozens of families in our community got the same letter, saying their SNAP was discontinued.

Up through the end of July, it wasn’t a huge problem because everyone on unemployment was getting an extra $600 a week from the federal government.

In fact, that’s why their SNAP was cut. Because of the $600 per week, the state determined their income exceeded the SNAP limit.

But here’s the problem now:

The $600 a week expired two weeks ago, there is no new federal aid package and their SNAP is still cut.

And that’s why we’ve been working to figure out how they can re-apply quickly.

Since the notification letters cutting SNAP came from the county, we asked County Executive Adam Bello. He deferred to his commissioner of social services Corinda Crossdale.

Corinda Crossdale, Commissioner Dept. of Social Services: "So SNAP benefits can be applied for an emergency or ongoing SNAP benefits. All of it can be done online. MyBenefits.com."

It’s run by New York State.

Here is where it can get complicated. SNAP is a federal program but the state determines eligibility and the counties are responsible for operating it and sending the notifications.

Brean: "How many children do you have?"

Tara Kelly, Irondequoit: "I have three."

Tara Kelly was laid off after the pandemic hit and received unemployment. She lost her SNAP on July 1.

She says she was told to wait one month to re-apply because of a look-back period.

Tara Kelly: "I was told to wait three weeks to a month so they have a month’s worth of showing that I don’t get the $600."

The commissioner says there is no waiting period.

Corinda Crossdale: "SNAP applications can be submitted at any time and we’ll review for eligibility once they’re submitted."

Collin Jones says he re-applied for SNAP when his unemployment ended at the end of June.

Collin Jones: "I’ve just been waiting and waiting and I even called them and they’re telling me oh, it’s just a couple more days and I’ve still yet to hear anything back or receive anything."