SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News)- Amid the COVID19 outbreak, applications for SNAP benefits are up in the state of Utah.
“We have seen an increase in the number of applications,” said Lyle Ward.
Ward is the Assistant Director of Eligibility Services Division at the Utah Department of Workforce Services which administers SNAP benefits.
SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program more commonly known as food stamps.
“In the full month of February, by comparison, we received 6,500 SNAP applications,” he explains. “So far for the month of March, we’ve received just over 7,500.”
Nationwide, SNAP helps more than 42 million people put food on the table to feed their families.
This is according to Feeding America.
On April 1st, the USDA’s new work requirement was scheduled to go into effect.
It mandates people between the ages of 18 to 49 who don’t have children and aren’t disable have to work at least 20 hours a week to receive benefits.
Amid the COVID19 outbreak, some people aren’t able to work.
“We have received guidance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Nutrition Services on this,” said Ward. “There is currently a hold that’s been placed on implementing the new work guidelines for all able-bodied without dependents.”
If you’re interested in applying for SNAP benefits a telephone interview is a requirement.
“A person applying for SNAP needs to meet all eligibility criteria which includes income, assets, citizenship and household composition,” Ward explains. “In this time of social distancing and limits placed on public gatherings, we really strongly encourage that individuals apply for SNAP online. The website is jobs.utah.gov.”
Workforce Services says an applicant can also apply to other services including medical, childcare and financial cash assistance with the same application.
This application is however different from the application to apply for unemployment. That application is also available on the Workforce Services website.