The U.S. Department of Agriculture loosened requirements for children receiving free meals through their schools at the start of the coronavirus pandemic and announced Monday it would keep those flexibilities in place through the end of the year.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is resuming pre-coronavirus application and renewal requirements for food stamps. Washington, D.C. created a mobile public benefits app that officials hope will make it easier for recipients to apply and meet eligibility requirements.
In documents dating to 2006, government officials predicted that a pandemic would threaten critical businesses and warned them to prepare. Meatpacking companies largely ignored them, and now nearly every one of the predictions has come true.
Even with the expanded benefits for out-of-work people, millions of families had to sign up for food stamps during the early months of the pandemic. Now even more people are expected to need the assistance.
Local health departments that suspended in-person inspections of restaurants and bars are beginning to restart their programs and now have even more responsibilities than before, like enforcing social distancing.
A federal judge had blocked the USDA from moving forward with requiring more stringent work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, saying they weren’t appropriate during the coronavirus pandemic.
With restaurants and schools closed, farmers lost their traditional markets for fresh produce. New state and federal programs hope to connect excess supply with the demand, including at food pantries across the country.
COMMENTARY | The SNAP food aid program helps low-income families put food on the table and injects money straight into struggling local economies. It will be critical throughout the crisis the coronavirus is stoking.