February is the last month that households that receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will also receive an emergency SNAP allotment.
The federal government created the monthly emergency payment to help families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have been helping to prepare families for this change,” Stacy Cox, director of the Champaign County Department of Job and Family Services (CCDJFS), said. “In March, SNAP families will return to receiving just one monthly payment, their standard SNAP benefit.”
She advises households that will need additional food assistance when the emergency SNAP allotment ends to reach out to the following community resources:
-Caring Kitchen, which offers food boxes, by appointment (937-653-8443), 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday
-The Urbana Champaign County Senior Center, which provides food to seniors, age 55 and over, by appointment (937-653-6088), on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays
-The Find Food tab on the Second Harvest Food Bank website, theshfb.org, which includes a Pantry Locator
-The home page of the CCDJFS website, champaigndjfs.org, which features a link to the contact information of 45 food pantries in Champaign and neighboring counties
Cox said that SNAP recipients will receive automated phone calls and texts to remind them about the discontinuation of emergency SNAP benefits and to remind them to find other resources to help meet their nutrition needs.
The ending of the emergency payments is the result of federal law, so the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and local JFS offices like CCDJFS have no authority to make exceptions, Cox said. “Our office will not be able to return any calls associated with the loss of the emergency allotment.”
Medicaid eligibility reviews to resume in April
Cox added that under the same federal law, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, the Medicaid program will resume conducting full eligibility redeterminations of Medicaid recipients. These reviews had been put on hold due to the pandemic.
The law gives states up to 12 months to initiate and 14 months to complete eligibility reviews of people currently enrolled in Medicaid. Those who no longer meet eligibility requirements will be disenrolled from Medicaid. The first disenrollments could begin as soon as April 2023, Cox said.
She advises Medicaid recipients to make sure that Medicaid has their current address so they can be notified by mail about their eligibility redetermination.