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Time Winding Down for MN Residents to Reapply for SNAP Benefits

In addition to seeking another waiver request, state officials say they're also asking that the federal government allow verification for SNAP recipients to be done over the phone during the crisis. (Adobe Stock)
In addition to seeking another waiver request, state officials say they're also asking that the federal government allow verification for SNAP recipients to be done over the phone during the crisis. (Adobe Stock)
August 4, 2020

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- SNAP recipients in Minnesota are being urged to renew their applications to avoid becoming ineligible in September. The reminder comes amid requests that federal officials grant another certification waiver during the pandemic.

The Department of Human Services says more than 20,000 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Minnesota Family Investment Program recipients are being notified through the mail that they're certification period has ended and they need to reapply soon. Hunger Solutions Minnesota director Colleen Moriarty said they were hoping the USDA would grant another waiver as it did in the spring, but that didn't happen.

"So it's an extra step in a time when we should be doing everything we can to make benefits seamless for people who need food," Moriarty said. "So it's disappointing that it's there and it's going to cause confusion."

The state is asking the federal government to reconsider the request for a waiver extension. In the meantime, recipients who have received a renewal letter are urged to complete their application in August so their benefits won't expire next month.

Moriarty said now would be a terrible time to see many people lose this kind of assistance. Not only does it prevent families from going hungry, it also injects resources into struggling communities.

"One of the things that it does is that it provides economic development - real money into communities, being spent in communities," she said. "And we have communities that lost grocery stores in the civil unrest, and people have had a very difficult time accessing food."

Hunger Solutions estimates that Minnesota has seen a 15% increase in demand for the SNAP program. The group operates the Minnesota Food Help-Line for people who have questions about the process. They can be reached at 888-711-1151.

Disclosure: Hunger Solutions Minnesota contributes to our fund for reporting on Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Livable Wages/Working Families. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Mike Moen, Public News Service - MN