USDA silent on P-SNAP benefits for April, temporarily extends SNAP to eligible low-income college students

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Missouri is waiting on guidance to submit a waiver for April Pandemic Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (P-SNAP) or Food Stamp benefits from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service. P-SNAP maximizes the SNAP amount each household receives based on the household’s size.

This means Missouri will issue regular SNAP benefits based on the amount each household is eligible to receive plus an additional 15 percent temporary benefit increase through June from the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.

“Complete silence on the question of April P-SNAP benefits puts Missouri SNAP recipients in a difficult position,” said Jennifer Tidball, Acting Director, Department of Social Services. “Our low-income families that receive SNAP must carefully budget food purchases and a sudden change in their benefit amount can contribute additional stress on that household. At this point, we have no other option but to distribute regular SNAP benefits amount plus the additional 15 percent for the month of April; but DSS stands ready to act, if P-SNAP benefits are made available for this month.”

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service announced the Consolidated Appropriation Act 2021 temporarily expands SNAP eligibility for higher education students enrolled at least half-time who either are eligible to participate in state of federally financed work study during the regular school year, as determined by the institution, or have an expected family contribution (EFC) of 0 in the current academic year.

The temporary extension will be in effect until 30 days after the COVID-19 public health emergency is lifted. Under regular SNAP rules, only students who actually participate in federally or state funded work-study are eligible. Temporarily students who are eligible to participate in work-study during the regular school year without the requirement that they actually participate could qualify.

The United States Department of Education will email and send letters about this benefit to students who have an expected family contribution of $0 for the current academic year.

Missourians can apply for SNAP benefits 24/7 online by visiting MyDSS.mo.gov, or sending completed applications and verification documents by email to FSD.Documents@dss.mo.gov, or by fax to 573-526-9400.

The Missouri Services Navigator has information on over 2,800 programs and services available in the state. Missourians in need of information on SNAP, Medicaid, Child Care Subsidy, LIHEAP, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefit programs can visit dss.mo.gov.

Missourians who have questions not specific to an individual’s case can use the DSS Virtual Assistant to get immediate answers to basic questions 24 hours a day. Phone assistance is also available Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. call 855-FSD-INFO or 855-373-4636. The Department of Social Services is committed to the “Show Me Strong" Recovery Plan and serving the needs of Missouri citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic.

SkillUp and Missouri Work Assistance (MWA) are free programs available to all SNAP and TA recipients that help low-income Missourians with career planning, overcoming challenges to work, as well as getting and keeping a job. Information regarding the department’s response to the pandemic is available online https://dss.mo.gov/covid-19. DSS also encourages Missourians to visit MOStopsCOVID.com to view the latest vaccine information and locate available vaccinators in their area.