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Missouri extends maximum food stamp benefits to August amid pandemic

Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 10:11 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The Missouri Department of Social Services (DSS) extended maximum food stamp benefits through the month of August, after receiving approval from The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Nutrition Service (FNS).

This extension means that households on food stamps will automatically get the maximum Food Stamp/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (P-SNAP) benefit loaded onto their Electronic Benefit Transfer card.

The maximum is based on the household size.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of households on food stamps rose by nearly 50%. Right now, nearly 373,000 Missouri households rely on food stamps, which helps to feed more than 777,000 Missourians.

“It just adds an extra layer of security, especially with upcoming schools years potentially starting, you know starting,” DSS Deputy Director of the Family Support Division Melissa Wolf said.

Throughout the instability during the pandemic, the additional help has provided families with some stability.

“It helps a lot,” said Traci Palmer, who uses food stamps. ”I get a $140 or something, but with pandemic going on I get $199 and that helps me out tremendously where I make sure I’ve got enough to eat throughout the month.”

Palmer said it would have been much more difficult if the benefits had not been extended.

“I would have had to rely on a lot of the church food banks, or the county food banks for extra stuff,” she said.

But Palmer said there are some people who may need the help more than her.

“Yeah it helps out tremendously because there’s even people out there that gets a lot less than I get, that that would help out,” she said.

Palmer said she hopes the benefits will get extended as long as the pandemic continues. Right now, DSS says extensions will come on a month to month basis.

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