Friday, April 19, 2024

Department of Social Services: SNAP Emergency Allotments Will End in February

(WYDaily Media)

RICHMOND — The Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) said emergency allotment benefits to SNAP households will end in February, and households will permanently return to pre-pandemic allowances beginning March.

SNAP, which stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, used to be called the Food Stamp Program.

SNAP households began receiving the temporary emergency allotment benefit in March 2020 as part of the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act. States were required to request a monthly waiver to issue those benefits. VDSS submitted the request each month for the duration of the period emergency benefits were available to continue providing additional food benefits to SNAP households.

Congress ended the temporary federal program, originally established in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023. According to the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, emergency allotments have already ended in 17 states.

The last issuance of benefits will be automatically loaded onto SNAP customers’ Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards on Thursday, Feb. 16, VDSS said.

VDSS said since March 2020, the commonwealth has issued more than $2.1 billion in emergency allotments and raised the monthly issuance to the maximum allowable amount for over 900,000 individuals in Virginia.

VDSS said it has mailed letters directly to SNAP households, and also created a dedicated webpage for more information and resources. Beginning January 28, households may contact the temporary information line at 1-855-635-4370, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m, and TTY assistance is available by calling 800-552-7917 or 866-246-9300. SNAP participants can also contact their local department of social services or visit CommonHelp for questions or account information.

For assistance with applying for food benefits, visit the VDSS SNAP webpage. To access information regarding resources statewide and in your local community, contact 2-1-1 Virginia or visit the VDSS food and other nutritional assistance page.

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