Food Stamps certification periods will be extended during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a news release from the Missouri Department of Social Services Family Support Division.
DSS requested and has been approved for a waiver from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service to extend Food Stamp/SNAP certification periods by six months for re-certifications due in March, April and May. DSS is also waiving all work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents through the end of the federal emergency COVID-19 declaration.
“For the health and well-being of low-income Missourians who rely on Food Stamp benefits, Missouri sought changes to the administration of the Food Stamp program in this state to meet the needs of our most vulnerable citizens,” Gov. Mike Parson said in the release. “No Missourian will have their Food Stamp benefits end for the present time, and they do not need to take any actions to ensure their benefits will continue.”
As part of the Families First Act, Missouri will issue Pandemic Food Stamp/Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (P-SNAP) benefits. This means all households currently eligible for SNAP will receive the maximum amount for the household size. This P-SNAP benefit increase will automatically be added on the normal date the recipient receives their SNAP benefit for April. This increase will affect 310,000 Missouri households.
In addition to P-SNAP, families with children eligible for free or reduced-price lunch in all Missouri school districts that close at least five consecutive days will get a Pandemic EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) (P-EBT) card benefit for March, April and May. The amount is determined by the federal government and will be the value of the number of missed meals. This benefit will automatically be added to the Food Stamp/SNAP recipient’s EBT card.
Fifty percent of Missouri public school students will get this benefit. DSS is working with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to identify and reach out to families of children who do not get Food Stamp benefits but do get free or reduced-price lunch to enroll them in the P-EBT card program.
“Every Missourian must have access to food and the Department of Social Services has taken these actions so that low-income individuals and families have what they need to make it through this critical time,” DSS Acting Director Jennifer Tidball said in the release. “Our most vulnerable citizens in Missouri must have essential needs met to ensure they can cope with the impact of COVID-19.”
Any low-income individual or family who are now in need of Food Stamp or other benefits should reach out to the Family Support Division. Missourians can apply for services at MyDSS.mo.gov or by sending completed applications and verification documents to FSD.Documents@dss.mo.gov or by fax to 573-526-9400. Missourians can also apply for Family Medicaid by calling 1-855-373-9994 from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
For updated information as the situation continues to evolve, visit dss.mo.gov/covid-19.