Federal law is expanding SNAP benefits for people who need food

Published: Apr. 6, 2020 at 9:06 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WAFF) - A little help during the coronavirus pandemic is in high demand.

Some may be coming in the form of expanded SNAP (formerly known as food stamp) benefits.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, passed in March, expands SNAP benefits and who receives them.

The act does the following:

  • Provides assistance to children who were receiving free or reduced priced meals at school.
  • Temporarily suspends the time constraints on SNAP benefits, and allows those who have timed-out of the program to re-enroll.
  • Streamlines the interview process for enrolling in SNAP benefits.

Alabama Arise police analyst Carol Gundlach said the bill is a step in the right direction for low-income Alabamians.

Her Montgomery-based organization lobbies for policies it says will improve life for at risk populations.

“It’s going to make a really big difference in keeping people fed who otherwise would have been going hungry," she said.

However, she said new benefits come with new challenges for the agencies dispersing them.

“Just like with unemployment benefits, the Department of Human Resources is just overwhelmed at the huge number of SNAP applications they’re getting right now," she said.

She recommends reaching out to the Department of Human Resources to take advantage of the new help, but be patient.

The Alabama DHR did not return a request for comment.

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