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Missouri expands food stamp access during coronavirus pandemic

   

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Department of Social Services (DSS) Family Support Division has increased and extended food stamp certifications in Missouri in response to COVID-19

The department received approval from the USDA to extend food stamp certification for families who would normally be required to recertify from March through May. This keeps food stamp services available for low-income Missourians who would have difficulty in reapplying for the program due to the outbreak. 

“For the health and well-being of low-income Missourians who rely on Food Stamp benefits, Missouri sought changes to the administration of the Food Stamp program in this state to meet the needs of our most vulnerable citizens,” Gov. Mike Parson said in a statement. “No Missourian will have their Food Stamp benefits end for the present time, and they do not need to take any actions to ensure their benefits will continue.”

The expanded benefits include issuing the maximum allotment of stamps to each eligible household, as well as a Pandemic EBT card given to students eligible for free or reduced lunch that will make up for the number of meals these students will miss. This will benefit around 400,000 students. 

WIC is also continuing its operations in Missouri, having been approved to waive its physical presence requirements. It also has an expanded variety of food options and substitutes. 

More than 200 Missourians have tested positive for coronavirus throughout the state, with at least three deaths reported. 

The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” while the disease is called “coronavirus disease 2019,” or “COVID-19.” It can cause severe respiratory illnesses with symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned.

There have been more than 44,000 confirmed cases in the U.S., and 544 deaths, according to the CDC. 

DHSS has opened a public hotline operated by medical professionals around the clock seven days a week. The hotline number is 877-435-8411.

Families in need can apply for food stamps at MyDSS.mo.gov or wic.mo.gov for information on WIC. 


EDITOR’S NOTE: For up-to-date information on coronavirus, check with the CDC and DHSS.