Food Stamps: SNAP EBT Discounts in New York

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The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program offers benefits to help families stretch their food budgets by offering prepaid electronic debit cards (Electronic Benefit Transfer, or EBT) that can be used to purchase healthy foods, seeds and even trees or plants that produce food.

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The SNAP program is federally funded but locally administered, which means maximum income and other qualification requirements, as well as funds provided, may vary from state to state. For example, in New York, a family of four can receive a maximum amount of $835 per month, and an individual can receive up to $250 per month.

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But many New Yorkers might not know that you can also get savings and perks at various places just by showing your EBT card. These discounts are not subsidized by the government, but are offered free of charge to SNAP recipients by companies or, in the case of museums, through a partnership agreement with Museums for All.

Here is a list of some of the best discounts and attractions your EBT card gives you access to:

1. Museums and attractions across New York

The New York metropolitan area, as well as the upstate areas, is packed with entertainment and education for all ages. Museums and attractions in New York City and its boroughs, as well as those in other areas of the state, offer free or discounted admissions to SNAP recipients. You only have to show one EBT card to benefit from a discounted subscription for your whole family.

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Museums include children’s museums like the Children’s Museum in Saratoga, the Children’s Museum of the East End in Bridgehampton, and the Explore & More Children’s Museum in East Aurora. Attractions for all ages, including Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House in Buffalo, the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning (currently displaying the world’s largest glass pumpkin until October 31, 2022), the International Center of Photography in New York on Essex Street, and the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, housed in an aircraft carrier on Pier 86 in Manhattan.

Consider calling ahead or checking the website to confirm the price of discounted admissions to these and other museums, and make sure specific museums are still participating in the program.

2. New York Zoos

Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester, NY is now offering zoo admission for just $1, good for families up to 4 people per EBT card. Revenue from other zoo admissions covers the program, according to an article in the Rochester-based Democrat & Chronicle.

3. Other attractions for children

The Adirondack Carousel at Saranac Lake is a unique attraction that combines intricate artwork and family fun. Hand-carved animal rides are usually $2.50 each, with bulk discounts for three or seven rides. However, SNAP recipients can ride for free, enjoying this local landmark that will create memories for a lifetime.

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The carousel’s website says it will be closed for annual building maintenance for most of September, but will reopen on September 29. Regular hours are Thursday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

4. Discounted Prime Membership

SNAP recipients in New York can take advantage of a significant discount on Amazon Prime membership. Prime Membership offers free two-day delivery on many items, special offers on Amazon Prime Day, access to the Amazon Prime streaming service, free access to select Kindle books, and all other benefits offered by the service. You’ll need to qualify online each year by submitting your EBT number and an image of your EBT card to subscribe to Prime for just $6.99 per month.

5. Free Home Internet and Smartphone Services

The federally funded Lifeline program offers up to $9.25 off a month on a smartphone or home internet service. You can call your current cell phone or home broadband Internet provider to see if they offer the Lifeline discount, or sign up with a new provider that does.

Assurance Wireless is a provider in New York that offers the Lifeline discount. The company also participates in the Affordable Connectivity Program, which provides SNAP recipients and other eligible customers with unlimited data, texts and minutes, as well as 10 GB of mobile hotspot data and a free Android phone.

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It’s always beneficial to ask if there are any discounts for SNAP recipients when you visit a tourist attraction, museum, zoo, or science center. If you’d rather not ask, check online before you go. New attractions are added frequently, so you never know when you’ll find discounts for some of your favorite activities.

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