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New York Has An App To Help People Apply For Food Stamps

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New York City’s welfare agency has an app to help low-income citizens gather and submit the complex paperwork to apply for food stamps on time, the New York Times reports.

The Human Resources Administration’s ACCESS HRA Mobile has become one of the primary ways people in New York City apply for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, also called food stamps.

Since introducing the app in March, users have uploaded more than a million documents, NYT reports.

Created with the help of a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the mobile app lets users submit documents for approval, view their case status, see balance on their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card, look at the documents in their file, and see the scheduled appointments with the agency.

The HRA received the $1.5 million grant in 2015 to help the administration “improve the ways low-income New Yorkers can interact with HRA and will help to address the persistent challenge of clients missing deadlines to complete the SNAP eligibility process,” according to the grant announcement.

More than 68 percent of food stamp recipients own smartphones, according to HRA data, so the app has made it easier to access the federal benefits administered by the city.

“The app is really good,” Danielle Hernandez, a teacher with an infant son, told NYT. “I hate going to the office, and I hate calling the office, because you cannot reach caseworkers because they are so busy.”

Between the app and the HRA website, New York City receives 76 percent of its food stamp applications through the app or the HRA website.

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