Congress has taken steps to promote food security during COVID-19 but more action is needed

Written by: Stephanie Perez-Carrillo
Date Posted: April 10, 2020

Families are facing stress and uncertainty during the health and economic crisis being caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. For many families, the stress of keeping food on the table is even more acute during this time of crisis. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, provides assistance to families to purchase healthy food and to promote food security. Prior to the crisis, approximately 90,000 Coloradans, including families with kids, used SNAP annually to help put food on the table.

Colorado responded to the crisis by seeking federal waivers that are available during the COVID outbreak for the SNAP program. These waivers have been approved by the federal government and mean that:

  • During the emergency, families applying for SNAP will not be required to complete an interview.
  • For March and April, families enrolled in SNAP will receive emergency allotments that will temporarily bring their benefit level up to the maximum amount (that’s $646 monthly for a household of four).
  • Families enrolled in SNAP with re-certifications or periodic reports due in March, April or May, will not need to submit this paperwork, as their certification periods will be extended by six months.

While we applaud the waivers that have already been granted, Congress needs to do more to support families enrolled in SNAP during the period of the outbreak. Congress has passed three stimulus packages in order to help states and to support families, public health, and the economy during the COVID-19 outbreak. These packages include important provisions designed to help address the unfolding economic disaster. However, future stimulus packages must include additional supports to help all families make ends meet in the face of the crisis, including additional supports for families enrolled in SNAP. National and state partners are advocating that Congress:

  • Increase SNAP benefits for families during the emergency to help ensure that families can put food on the table.
  • Allow families enrolled in SNAP to purchase groceries online for delivery rather than requiring them to go into stores during the outbreak.
  • Allocate resources to support the increased administrative needs of the program.
  • Delay the implementation of proposed and final rules that the Trump administration has issued for SNAP.

The Children’s Campaign joined 782 other organizations in advocating for these important changes to the SNAP program by signing onto a national letter to Congress this week.

You can join us and several anti-hunger organizations in our collective advocacy by participating in the action alert organized by Hunger Free Colorado. It asks Congress to prioritize these changes to the SNAP program in the next federal stimulus package. Learn more about the action alert by clicking here.

Stephanie Perez-Carrillo

About Stephanie Perez-Carrillo

Stephanie works as a Policy Analyst for the Colorado Children’s Campaign. Prior to joining the Children’s Campaign, she worked as a Public Policy Fellow at The Women’s Foundation of Colorado – where she found her love and passion for policy work. Before diving into the policy world, Stephanie served as a Teach for America Corps Member in South Carolina, teaching high school and middle school math. Early on while obtaining her degree in Marketing from Florida International University, she worked in health care as a Patient Advocate and Unit Secretary. When she is not working, you can typically find her at a coffee shop, hanging out with friends, or engaging in some type of outdoor activity.