In this article, you will get to know how the Coronavirus affects Food Stamps rules and as well as the recipients. President Trump signs the historic $2 trillion stimulus bill after Congress passes it on March 27. The bill provides over $100 billion to help expand existing aid programs, such as Medicaid and food stamps.
As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the federal agency in charge of the SNAP (food stamps) program has made the following adjustments to the program to provide benefits to those in need. In addition to that, you will get to know in full explanation, the disaster food stamps process (DSNAP) and how you can get emergency food stamps due to Coronavirus in your state.
How Coronavirus affects Food Stamps
Below are adjustments made to help to provide benefits to those in need due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
- Increase in Food Stamps Benefits
The USDA has granted waivers to states to provide them more flexibility with their food stamps program so current food stamps recipients get more benefits. Various states have started to issue additional food stamps benefits to existing recipients.
This is based on a public health emergency declaration by the Secretary of Health and Human Services when a state has also issued an emergency or disaster declaration.
- Extended Certification Periods
The USDA has given states the flexibility to adjust deadlines for participants to re-enroll (i.e., “recertify”) to continue receiving SNAP benefits.
- The time limit for Able-bodied Adults without Dependents (ABAWD)
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, signed by President Trump on March 18, 2020, temporarily and partially suspends the time limit for ABAWD participation in SNAP.
This means that ABAWDs can only get food stamps for no more than 3 months over any 3-year period unless they:
- Work; OR
- Participate in a work program at least 20 hours a week; OR
- They participate in a workfare program, or;
- Are otherwise exempt.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act has suspended the time limit for ABAWDs, except in certain circumstances.
- Adjustments to Interview Requirements
USDA currently allows state food stamps agencies to adjust interview requirements, provided an applicant’s identity has been verified and other mandatory verifications are made.
Based on this, states can conduct telephone interviews with snap applicants instead of face-to face-interviews.
Emergency Food Stamps Due To Coronavirus
If you have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and you are not receiving food stamps benefits, then you may be eligible for disaster food stamps. Provided you are laid off from work due to the coronavirus and you are struggling to buy food, you may apply for Disaster Food Stamps or D-SNAP.
Before you proceed to apply for Disaster Food Stamps, you need to know if your state has received a Presidential disaster declaration of individual assistance (IA) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Once FEMA has announced a Major Disaster Declaration for your state, then your state is eligible to offer the following assistance to individuals and households, including:
- Disaster Food Stamps or D-SNAP.
- Individuals and Households Program.
- Crisis Counseling Program.
- Disaster Case Management.
- The Disaster Unemployment Assistance.
- Disaster Legal Services.
You can use this link to check FEMA Major Disaster Declaration area/state. As of March 29, 2020, President Trump has announced Major Disaster Declarations for various states due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Once your states receive approval to operate the D-SNAP program, then you will get to know the program eligibility guidelines and application process, including how to apply online. Provided you are eligible for D-SNAP benefits, you will be issued benefits within 72 hours of your application.
You can check out this article on how to apply for emergency food stamps in your state.
For any additional questions on how Coronavirus affects Food Stamps or you need help applying for emergency food stamps, kindly use the comments section below.