(Jackson, Miss.) – The Mississippi Department of Human Services is making emergency food assistance available to families that have been impacted by the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis.
In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has approved issuing emergency supplement benefits for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients for March and April 2020, once eligibility for SNAP has been determined.
“Our primary commitment is, and always will be, helping Mississippi families when they need it most, especially during this time when so many lives are being affected,” MDHS Executive Director Bob Anderson said. “We will continually make every effort to provide assistance to children and families who need it, especially in the face of the unprecedented effects of this pandemic.”
Households determined eligible for SNAP benefits will receive an emergency food benefit in March and April that, combined with the benefit amount the household is certified to receive, will equal the maximum benefit for the household, based on its size.
For example, the maximum monthly benefit amount a one-person household could receive is $194. A one-person SNAP household currently entitled to receive $100 will receive an additional $94 for both March and April 2020.
Please see the table below which outlines the maximum monthly allotment based on the number of people in the SNAP household.
Households not currently receiving SNAP benefits may apply for benefits online and, if determined eligible based on federal regulations, may receive the emergency supplement. All MDHS county office lobbies are currently closed as a precaution for COVID-19. During this time, the department is asking applicants to complete the application process for food assistance online at https://www.mdhs.ms.gov/applications/. Select “SNAP/TANF Prescreening Application” and follow the instructions.
In order to expedite the application process, applicants are encouraged to upload all their verification documents to the application prior to submitting to MDHS. The verification documents required include:
Proof of identity (driver’s license, etc.).
Social Security Numbers for all household members.
If employed, proof of income (wage stubs, earning statements, etc.) for the four weeks prior to submission or last filed tax return if self-employed. If recently unemployed, proof of employment ending.
Any other income such as: social security/railroad retirement, other disability, VA income, pensions, unemployment, child support, alimony, money from other people (cash gifts), worker’s compensation.
Proof of Mississippi residency.
Expenses such as utility bills, rent/mortgage payments, lot rent, property taxes, home insurance, and child support payments made in accordance with a court order, etc.
Resources such as checking accounts, savings accounts, IRA account, valuable coins, stocks or bonds, nonrecurring lump sum payments, recreational vehicles (boat, 4-wheeler, off road vehicles), personal property, buildings and certain land, recreational properties belonging to you or anyone for whom you are applying.
Medical expenses that exceed $35 for family members 60 years of age or older or disabled such as: doctor visits, hospital visits, prescriptions, Medicare premiums, health insurance premiums, glasses, dentures, hearing aids, part D prescription premiums, transportation expenses to and from doctor or hospital; pharmacy pick-ups, etc.
You may be asked to provide additional information based on your circumstances.
Once the application and verifications have been submitted, you will receive instructions from your county office on how to complete the eligibility process. Applicants DO NOT need to call the MDHS office for an interview. The application and verification documents can also be completed and mailed to the local county office; however, this will result in a delay in the receipt and processing of the application. Applicants will receive a notification of approval or denial via mail or, if you have signed up for the My MDHS application, by email. If approved, you will be able to receive your SNAP benefits within 30 days of your dated application.
March emergency supplements for ongoing SNAP households were issued on March 29. March 2020 cases approved after the initial emergency supplement was issued will receive the emergency benefit amount two days after the case is approved.
April emergency supplements for ongoing SNAP households will be available April 2. The household’s regular benefit amount will be made available on the household’s regular issuance date.
SNAP households that currently receive the maximum benefit for its household’s size will not receive an emergency supplement.
“We know the next few months are going to be a challenge for families across our state who are being affected by this pandemic at no fault of their own,” said Anderson. “This emergency food assistance will provide families with the temporary resources they need to support themselves during what we hope will be a short time away from their jobs. Helping families through this emergency is one of the ways we help Mississippians transition from a state of crisis to a state of self-sufficiency.”
For the most recent updates and guidelines we have available, go to https://www.mdhs.ms.gov/covid-19-updates/.