Here’s some great news for all food stamps recipients. Congress has approved additional Food Stamps benefits due to Coronavirus. This applies to current food stamps recipients and was part of the coronavirus stimulus package that was signed into law by President Trump last month.
In this post, we will walk you through what the additional money means for current food stamps recipients and when you can expect to see the extra funds on your EBT Card.
If you are not currently receiving food stamps but have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and need food stamps benefits, see our post on how to apply for emergency food stamps.
This post will cover:
- Additional Food Stamps Benefits due to Coronavirus
- How much you will receive in additional Food Stamps?
- When additional food stamps will be distributed?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Additional Food Stamps Benefits due to Coronavirus
Congress approved supplemental funding for food stamps recipients in March and April 2020 due to the impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic or COVID-19.
This was part of the Coronavirus response package signed into law in March.
The bill includes an additional $1 billion in food benefits. The measure allows states to use money from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Food Stamps Program to boost aid for families with kids who qualify for free or reduced-price school meals.
Increase in Food Stamps Benefits
USDA will be granting waivers to states to provide them more flexibility with their food stamps program so current food stamps recipients get more help.
This includes allowing states to issue additional food stamps benefits to existing recipients.
This will be 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.
Free Lunch for Kids
As a result of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020, children who would receive free or reduced-price meals if not for school closures are still eligible to receive assistance under this provision.
Many local school districts have rolled out plans for meal pick up stations for free lunch for kids. Check with your school district for more information.
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act provided the WIC Program with $500 million to remain available through September 30, 2021 for increases in program participation.
In addition, due to the Coronavirus safety rules, participants and applicants for WIC do not have to physically come into a WIC clinic to enroll or re-enroll, including the ability to defer certain requirements used to determine nutritional risk.
Furthermore, WIC program participants do not have to physically come into the WIC clinic to pick up WIC EBT cards and/or paper coupons.
This ensures participants have what they need to receive continued nutrition assistance during the coronavirus pandemic.
Check with your local county WIC office for more information.
Extended Certification Periods
The USDA will give states the flexibility to adjust deadlines for participants to re-enroll (i.e., “recertify”) to continue receiving SNAP benefits.
Time limit for Able-bodied Adults without Dependents (ABAWD)
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which was signed by President Trump on March 18, 2020, temporarily and partially suspends the time limit for ABAWD participation in SNAP.
In general, 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 suspends the time limit for ABAWDs, except in certain circumstances.
How much you will receive in additional Food Stamps
If you are currently receiving food stamps as of March 2020, you will get more benefits to bring your March and April benefits amounts up to the maximum for your household
The table below shows the maximum food stamps benefits by household size
Food Stamps Maximum Monthly Allotment Based on Household Size
|People in Household||Maximum Monthly Allotment|
|Each additional person||+$146|
What does this mean for my benefits?
Here’s what this means for you. If you are a household of one person and you currently receive say $120 a month in benefits, your benefits for March and April will be increased to $194, meaning you will get $74 extra benefits per month for the two months.
Similarly, if you are a household of 4 and currently receive $400 a month in food stamps benefits, for the months of March and April, you will receive $646, which is an extra $246 per month for the two months.
When additional food stamps will be distributed?
March benefits will be distributed in April. You will receive your benefits according to when food stamps are deposited in your state. If you are not sure, check out our food stamps deposit schedule by state.
What about April benefits? Are there changes to those amounts?
If you’re already getting benefits in April, you’ll get the maximum amount for your household size on your regular benefit date.
I didn’t apply until April. Will I get extra benefits?
You won’t get extra benefits for March if you didn’t apply until April. But, you’ll get the maximum amount for your household size if approved in April.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most frequently asked questions about the additional Food Stamps benefits from the stimulus bill.
Why is this happening?
Congress approved extra benefits to give people the ability to buy more food as they deal with the Coronavirus pandemic and stay at home directives, which prevents many people from being able to work.
In addition, the extra benefit is to help reduce the number of times people need to go shopping for groceries.
It will also limit the number of people at stores and lower the chance for COVID-19 contact.
I already get the maximum amount for March or April. Will I get extra benefits?
If you already get the maximum benefit amount, you won’t get additional benefits in March or April.
I am eligible for food stamps but I don’t get any benefits. Will I get extra benefits?
Yes. You will get an extra benefit of the maximum amount for your household size if you usually get $0.
Will I have to pay back these additional benefits?
These are extra benefits meant for your use. There is no reason you’d have to pay them back.
Will these extra benefits affect my immigration status?
Will there be more maximum amounts for May or June?
Congress approved extra benefits for March and April 2020 only. If Congress approves more months, you will receive the extra benefits for those months.
Additional Food Stamps Benefits due to Coronavirus Summary
We hope this post on additional Food Stamps benefits due to Coronavirus was helpful to you.
If you have further questions about the additional Food Stamps benefits approved by Congress, leave those in the comments section below.
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