SNAP Investments in the Newest COVID Relief Package
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 that was signed into law on December 27 provides funding for needed nutrition assistance, including investments in SNAP, that will go a long way toward addressing the rising hunger crisis associated with the pandemic and economic downturn.
Six-Month Boost to SNAP Maximum Benefits
The Act increases the maximum monthly SNAP benefit allotments (AKA: Thrifty Food Plan) by 15% from January 1 through June 30, 2021.
See our SNAP Budget Worksheet for the updated Thrifty Food Plan (pg. 2, Chart D) amounts per household size that took effect on January 1.
The SNAP benefit increase is the difference between the old maximum benefit amount and the new maximum benefit amount based on household size. For a chart on the 15% SNAP boost per household size go to our SNAP section on our COVID-19 page.
In January only, the 15% increase will be issued as a supplement to all eligible SNAP households in addition to the January Emergency Allotments (EAs).
Issuance Schedule for January 2021 15% SNAP Boost:
- NYC: issuance based on the last digit of the case number on 1/15, from 1/19 through 1/22, and from 1/25 through 1/29/2021.
- Rest of State: issuance based on each districts caseload which will be divided randomly, from 1/11 through 1/14, and from 1/18 through 1/21/2021.
Beginning in February and continuing through June, the 15% increase to the maximum SNAP benefits will be incorporated into the regular monthly SNAP benefit issuance processes and amounts.
For more information on the increase to the SNAP minimum allotment and to the NYSNIP Benefit Matrix go to the SNAP section on our COVID-19 page.
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) Payments
This package extends the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Payments (FPUC) by providing an additional $300 a week of federally funded unemployment benefits to eligible workers.
Under SNAP rules, the $300 FPUC does not count as income or a resource when determining eligibility and calculating benefits for SNAP.
The Act temporarily expands SNAP eligibility for students who are enrolled at least half time in an institution of higher education.
First, the Act amends an already allowable exemption around work study. Prior to January students participating in work study (no hourly minimum) were eligible for SNAP if they met all other income and eligibility criteria.
The amended exemption is below:
- A student is eligible for SNAP if the student is eligible to participate in state or federal work-study, regardless if the student is actively employed or participating in work-study and meets all other SNAP eligibility criteria.
Second, the Act offers a new allowable exemption for students:
- A student is eligible for SNAP if they have an expected family contribution (EFC) of $0 in the current academic year under federal student financial aid rules (determination under the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that is used to calculate the amount of federal Pell Grants and other aid for a which a student qualifies) and meets all other SNAP eligibility criteria.
The amended student eligibility rules will remain in effect until 30 days after the COVID-19 federal public health emergency is lifted. See the SNAP section of our COVID-19 page for more details.
2020 Recovery Rebate Payments for Individuals
Finally, the Act authorizes $600 rebate payments to eligible individuals, including children, similar to those authorize under the CARES Act.
For SNAP purposes these rebate payments are:
- excluded as income in the month they are received, and
- excluded as a resource for 12 months following receipt.
Go to our COVID-19 page for the full summary including the OTDA guidance, a chart on the 15% SNAP boost per household size, changes to the minimum benefit allotments, a link to student rules, and much more.