JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits could be used for online grocery purchases in Missouri as early as next week.
“If everything goes well over the next few days, we’re anticipating that that will be available to SNAP households by mid-May, even late next week,” Department of Social Services (DSS) Director Jennifer Tidball told The Missouri Times during Wednesday’s daily COVID-19 press conference at the state Capitol.
She further explained that there is no planned expiration date for the program as of now.
Missouri was granted a waiver to allow SNAP benefits to be used for online grocery purchases in April. Tidball said DSS is continuing to test with Walmart and Amazon, both of which are set to be the main retailers for SNAP households.
The department also announced today the distribution of $1.5 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to Missouri’s six regional food banks in an effort to meet the needs of the increasing number of Missourians relying on food assistance. Funds will go to more than 1,000 food pantries, domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and other meal assistance sites.
“Food banks are coping with an increasing gap between supply and demand that COVID-19 created,” Tidball said. “We know the $1.5 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund will help food banks replenish items to feed Missourians who have diminishing resources.”
Funds for this support to food banks will come from Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds. DSS also announced its plans to use the CARES Act Child Care Plan to expand access to child care assistance by making changes to eligibility guidelines.
Benefits for low-income families include allowing Child Care Subsidy for up to 90 days while parents seek work. Benefits for child care providers include grants allowing secondary education institutions to establish on-campus childcare programs and providing a one-time payment to child care facilities that have remained open.