The Families First Coronavirus response bill that President Trump signed into law included several provisions to help individuals and families who rely on federal feeding programs such as SNAP and WIC. Below are brief descriptions of the provisions and the potential impact they could have on your SNAP shoppers.
Work Requirements: the bill temporarily waives the work requirements for able bodied adults without dependents (ABAWD). ABAWD are typically limited to 3 months of benefits every 3 years if they are not working or participating in a state-run work training program. The bill lifts that time limit automatically allowing ABAWD to receive benefits beyond the maximum. States do not need to apply for a waiver and recipients do not need to file any additional paperwork. This authority will expire the month after the Secretary of Health and Human Services lifts his Emergency declaration.
Emergency Allotments of SNAP Benefits: The bill allow for states to request a waiver to temporarily increase SNAP benefits to the national maximum level. According to 2019 data, the average SNAP benefit for a family of 4 was $448, while the national maximum was $642. The most recent SNAP participation and benefit distribution data, by state for November, 2019, seems to track annual national averages. FMI is working with FNS to obtain more recent data. FNS has issued guidance to states on the processes and parameters for requesting the increase in funds. According to the guidance a state may:
School Lunch/EBT Provisions (P-EBT): The Bill includes a provision for states whose schools have been closed for more than 5 days to provide benefits to children who receive free and reduced school meals. States can submit plans to USDA for approval to provide P-EBT benefits to SNAP and non-SNAP households with children who have temporarily lost access to free or reduced-price school meals due to pandemic-related school closures.