- Last Updated on Saturday, 30 May 2020 20:27
By Dave Buchewicz, Chairman South Park Democratic Committee
First Lady Frances Wolf, Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller, and Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding recently outlined food assistance programs available for Pennsylvanians to enroll in to get them through current COVID-19-induced tough times.
They said Pennsylvanians should feel no shame in accepting state and federal food benefits that were, in fact, designed for unprecedented times like the coronavirus pandemic.
While most eligibility verifications for food assistance have been waived to reduce barriers to access during COVID-19 mitigation in Pennsylvania, there are several state programs that still require individuals to seek out and enroll in individually to qualify and receive benefit. These programs include:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Formerly known as food stamps, SNAP provides assistance to low-income and working Pennsylvanians, allowing them to purchase produce and groceries for themselves and their family. SNAP helps more than 1.8 million Pennsylvanians, including about 700,000 children, about 690,000 people with disabilities, and about 300,000 older adults, expand purchasing power to ensure their household has enough food to avoid going hungry. SNAP is issued through a monthly payment to an electronic benefit transfer card, and benefits are based off income and household size. People can apply for SNAP online at www.compass.state.pa.us online at any time.
- Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program: This program runs from June 1 through November 30 each year. Seniors must be 60 or older by December 31 of the program year and have income at or below 185% of the U.S. poverty level. Eligible seniors should call their county Aging office for information on distribution of vouchers. Vouchers are distributed on a first come, first serve basis.
- WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program: This program runs from June 1 through November 30 each year, and recipients must be on the WIC program to receive this benefit. Children 1-year and older, and pregnant/post-partum women will receive vouchers for the program during their quarterly WIC visit (May through September).
- Commodity Supplemental Food Program: Eligible participants include individuals who are at least 60 years old and whose household income is at or below 130% of the U.S. poverty level. To qualify, individuals must complete an application with proof of income. Questions about where/how to access this program can be directed to the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Food Assistance by calling 1-800-468-2433 or emailing email@example.com.
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC): Women who are pregnant or have had a baby in the past six months, or twelve if breastfeeding; infants and children under the age of five; and fathers, grandparents, and foster parents who are the legal guardian of a child under age five, may apply for WIC. WIC applicants must reside in Pennsylvania, have a medical or nutritional risk, and have a gross household income that does not exceed 185% of the U.S. poverty level.
If you need help or have questions, call me, Dave Buchewicz at 412-833-8025 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you and Stay Safe.