Summary of the new COVID package and implications for hunger relief from our colleagues at Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon
However, I'm very happy to share that the federal economic relief package passed late last month included an increase of approximately 15% in SNAP benefits. These benefits begin this month in Oregon. To see the details please read this news release.
SNAP Emergency Allotments will continue for January as well, meaning families will still receive their maximum household allotment of SNAP benefits. Please see these FAQs for more information and feel free to share the news with partners and clients.
Ok, here's what's in the federal COVID relief package to address hunger:
1) Increases in SNAP Benefits for Millions of Americans Facing Hunger
- Provides a 15% increase in SNAP benefits for 6 months (through June 30, 2021) for all SNAP participants.
- Excludes unemployment compensation from being counted as income for the purposes of calculating SNAP benefits and eligibility.
- Provides college students access to SNAP by waiving requirements that apply only to students and giving them access to SNAP similar to impacted workers with reduced work hours due to COVID.
- Provides $5 million to add additional retailers to online SNAP, including for farmers markets and direct to consumer sales.
- Provides $100 million for SNAP state administrative expenses
- Provides $614 million for nutrition grants to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa.
- Includes improvement to Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) that will expand access to food benefits for children by allowing all children under age 6 receiving SNAP to be deemed “enrolled” in child care, so they will be eligible for P-EBT benefit. The bill also clarifies what constitutes a “closure” making it easier to reach school-aged children with P-EBT assistance when schools are shifting between in-person, virtual and hybrid schooling.
- Includes emergency funds for schools and daycares that are facing increased costs and reduced participation due to COVID. Because funding for schools and daycares are tied directly to participation, many are facing budget shortfalls, putting in jeopardy their ability to continue to offer meals to children. The bill would provide funding to ensure these critical feeding programs may continue.
- The Act also appropriates $42 million for Summer EBT, $30 million for school meal equipment grants, and $12,000,000 for Farm to School Grants.
3) Supports Food Banks and Seniors
- Provides $400 million for food banks through the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) with up to 20 percent for distribution of commodities.
- Provides $13 million for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) with up to 20 percent for State administrative expenses.
- Provides $175 million for nutrition services for seniors under the Older Americans Act, such as Meals on Wheels
Overall COVID relief and FY21 appropriations Package