By: Hannah Walker, Vice President, Political Affairs, and Elizabeth Tansing, Senior Director, State Government Relations, FMI
Congress implemented several changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in the recently enacted Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The emergency allotments for current SNAP beneficiaries is one we want to make sure members are aware of, and ready to implement in their states. The bill allows states to request a waiver from United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to take their participating SNAP households up to the national maximum benefit level. In general, this could mean about an additional $50 per recipient, or $200 for a household of four. FNS is in the process of issuing individualized waiver approval letters to the State Agencies.
Additionally, FNS is in the process of reviewing and granting State WIC waiver requests. These waivers allow for certain food package substitutions, as requested by the State or ITO, provided they are consistent with the nutritional basis of the foods normally provided within the food package and justified based upon the issue of low stock as a result of increased customer demand during COVID-19.
We will continue to update our website with the information on SNAP and WIC waivers. We want to make sure all our members know as quickly as possible when waivers are granted, how many households in a state are participating and the amount of funds being sent to the state to help you prepare on the operations side. Additionally, FNS has a COVID-19 webpage where they will be uploading approved waivers that can be accessed through an interactive map.
We know this is an incredibly busy time for our members as they navigate the uncharted territory of a public health crisis like we have never seen. The entire supply chain has faced unprecedented demand and has proven to be the most resilient, nimble and efficient in the world.
Please do not hesitate to reach out if we can be of any assistance as you continue to be on the frontlines feeding our country.WIC Waivers