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IMPORTANT CHANGES TO BENEFIT PROGRAMS IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19


The Division of Social Services (DSS) has changed the following benefit program rules to help protect the health and well-being of Delawareans during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. This information will be updated as changes occur.

To limit the spread of COVID-19, clients are asked to contact us by phone and online.

  • Call 1-866-843-7212 so we can serve you by phone.
  • Click here to apply for benefits online through Delaware ASSIST.

SNAP ONLINE PURCHASING

Delaware's new SNAP Online Purchasing Program gives households another grocery shopping option during the COVID-19 crisis. Delaware households can use their SNAP food benefits or P-EBT benefits to order groceries online from Amazon, Aldi, Food Lion, Giant, ShopRite, and Walmart.

Click here for more information about Delaware's SNAP Online Purchasing Program.

PANDEMIC ELECTRONIC BENEFITS TRANSFER (P-EBT)

Delaware's P-EBT Program has been extended though Summer 2021 to provide emergency food assistance benefits to eligible households to cover the summer period when children are on break and not receiving meals at school.

Click here for more information about Delaware's P-EBT Program.

TEMPORARY 15% FOOD BENEFIT INCREASE

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Delaware households with open SNAP food benefits cases will receive an increase in food benefits starting in January 2021. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 temporarily increases food benefit amounts by 15% starting January 1, 2021 and ending June 30, 2021. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 extends the 15% increase to SNAP food benefits from July 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021. The 15% benefit increase is based on each household's benefit calculation and may be less than the amounts shown in the chart.

TEMPORARY 15% MAXIMUM FOOD BENEFIT ALLOTMENT INCREASE

Household Size Regular Amount New Amount Effective January 2021 - September 2021
1 $204 $234
2 $374 $430
3 $535 $616
4 $680 $782
5 $807 $929
6 $969 $1,114
7 $1,071 $1,232
8 $1,224 $1,408
Each additional member $153 $176

All SNAP households will receive their new increased food benefit amount on their normal issuance dates through September 30, 2021.


EMERGENCY FOOD BENEFITS

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

The Division of Social Services has issued emergency food benefits since March 2020 to SNAP households that were not already receiving the maximum food benefit amount. As a result of the Executive Order on Economic Relief Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic, all households with open SNAP cases will now receive at least $95 in emergency food benefits each month that Delaware continues to have a State of Emergency Declaration for COVID-19.

Beginning with April 2021, Delaware will issue emergency food benefits to all SNAP households as outlined below. SNAP households will receive the emergency food benefit on July 28, 2021. The emergency food benefit will be available on the households' EBT cards the next day.

  1. Households receiving the maximum base SNAP benefit for their household size at the current temporary increased maximum allotment amount will receive $95 in emergency food benefits.

    Example: A household of 5 currently receives the maximum SNAP allotment of $929. The household will receive a $95 monthly emergency allotment.

  2. Households with a calculated emergency benefit amount less than $95 will receive $95 in emergency food benefits. The emergency benefit calculation is shown below.

    Example: A household of 2 currently receives $395 in SNAP benefits. The maximum allotment for a household of 2 is $430, and the household's calculated emergency allotment is $35. Because the household receives less than $95 in emergency benefits, the monthly emergency allotment will be increased to $95.

  3. Households with a calculated emergency benefit amount of $95 or more will continue to receive the calculated emergency benefit amount. There is no change in emergency benefits for these households. The emergency benefit calculation is shown below.

    Example: A household of 3 currently receives $285 in SNAP benefits. The maximum allotment for a household of 3 is $616, and the household's calculated emergency allotment is $331. Because the household receives more than $95 in emergency benefits, the monthly emergency allotment will continue to be $331.

Emergency Food Benefit Calculation


Maximum Food Benefit for SNAP Household Size - Current Food Benefit= Emergency Food Benefit
Emergency Food Benefit Calculation
SNAP Household Size Maximum Food Benefit Amount
1 $234
2 $430
3 $616
4 $782
5 $929
6 $1,114
7 $1,232
8 $1,408
Each additional member: $176

SNAP households that owe an overpayment will continue to have this amount deducted from their food benefits, which will affect their emergency food benefit amount.

All SNAP households will receive their regular food benefits on their normal issuance dates.


EMERGENCY CASH BENEFITS

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) & General Assistance (GA)

Households with open TANF and GA cases may receive an emergency cash benefit amount up to the maximum benefit amount for their TANF or GA household size. The Division of Social Services has issued emergency cash benefits since March 2020 to TANF and GA households that were not already receiving the maximum benefit amount. TANF and GA households may also receive an emergency cash benefit check on or after July 28, 2021.

Emergency Cash Benefit Calculation


Maximum Cash Benefit for TANF/GA Household Size - Current Cash Benefit= Emergency Cash Benefit
Emergency Cash Benefit Calculation
TANF Household Size Maximum TANF Benefit Amount
1 $201
2 $270
3 $338
4 $407
5 $475
6 $544
7 $612
8 $681
9 $750
10 $819


Emergency Cash Benefit Calculation
GA Household Size Maximum GA Benefit Amount
1 $79
2 $107
3 $144
4 $169
5 $209
6 $239

TANF and GA households that already receive the maximum benefit amount for their TANF or GA household size or that have prorated TANF and GA check are not eligible for the emergency benefit. TANF and GA households that owe an overpayment will continue to have this amount deducted from their benefits, which will affect their emergency cash benefit amount.

All TANF and GA households will receive their regular checks on their normal issuance date.

YOUTH IN FOSTER CARE ARE ELIGIBLE FOR FEDERAL PANDEMIC RELIEF FUNDS

Youth or young adults under the age of 27 who spent time in foster care after the age of 14 may be eligible for pandemic relief funds to get financial support with rent or mortgage payments, utility bills, car loans, groceries, or other basic needs. Click here to learn more.


CHILD CARE

All licensed child care providers may reopen and all Delaware families may access child care. Child care providers must follow applicable COVID-19 DELACARE regulations as well as additional health & safety requirements developed by the Office of Child Care Licensing and the Division of Public Health.

Click here for more information on child care options during Delaware's State of Emergency.

FAMILY CO-PAYMENTS

Families are not required to pay their Purchase of Care monthly co-payment to their child care provider through July 31, 2021. The Division of Social Services has waived co-payments for families since April 2020.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Purchase of Care Unit at (302)255-9670.

DELAWARE EARLY EDUCATION AND CHILD CARE STABILIZATION FUND

On April 9, 2021, the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services and the Delaware Department of Education announced that the Delaware Early Education and Child Care Stabilization fund will provide direct grants to support eligible child care providers across Delaware. Click here for more information. Learn more about the Application Process.


BENEFIT RENEWALS AND PERIODIC REPORTS

Beginning September 1, 2020, DSS resumed processing benefit renewals for:

  • Food Benefits/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Child Care/Purchase of Care (POC)
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • General Assistance (GA)

Households that were scheduled to renew their benefits in March, April, May, June, July or August 2020 received a 6-month renewal extension. Households that are affected by this change will receive a notice in the mail when it is time to renew their benefits.

SNAP, TANF, and GA households were not required to return a periodic report form during the months of March, April, May, June, July and August 2020. Households that are affected by this change will have their next contact with the Division of Social Services at their benefit renewal.


APPLICATIONS & INTERVIEWS

When possible, the Division of Social Services will interview clients by telephone during Delaware's State of Emergency.

Clients may provide a verbal signature over the phone to confirm the information on their food benefit, cash assistance, or child care application or renewal is correct in the following situations:

  • The client submits a paper application or renewal without a signature; or
  • The client applies for or renews their benefits over the phone with a case worker.

FOOD BENEFIT APPLICATION ASSISTANCE

Delaware's SNAP Outreach Partners can help you apply for or renew your food benefits over the phone or in person. Contact the SNAP Outreach Partners listed below for more information.

Delaware Ecumenical Council on Children and Families

Click here or call (302)225-1040.

Food Bank of Delaware

Click here or call (302)444-8073.

Jewish Family Services

Click here or call (302)478-9411.

Modern Maturity Center

Click here or call (302)734-1200 ext 174.

FOOD BENEFIT INTERVIEWS

Food benefit applicants will not be required to complete an interview from December 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021 if they meet ALL of the following conditions

  • The applicant is not eligible for expedited services;
  • The applicant's food benefit application/renewal is complete with the required information; and
  • The applicant's food benefit application/renewal is signed by either the case head, an authorized representative for the food benefit case, or a responsible household member included in the food benefit case; and
  • The applicant has provided verification of their identity; and
  • The applicant has provided verification of all mandatory eligibility factors listed on the application.

If a food benefit applicant does not meet these conditions, a case worker will contact the applicant to request additional information and/or verification.

WORK REQUIREMENTS

FOOD BENEFIT WORK REQUIREMENTS

Food benefit work requirements are temporarily suspended. Individuals receiving food benefits may still voluntarily participate with the SNAP Employment and Training program for assistance with job search and employment preparation as long as the SNAP Employment and Training offices remain open.

TANF WORK REQUIREMENTS

TANF work requirements are temporarily suspended. Individuals receiving TANF may still voluntarily participate with the TANF Employment and Training program for assistance with job search and employment preparation as long as the TANF Employment and Training offices remain open.


CASH ASSISTANCE TIME LIMITS, SANCTIONS, AND EXEMPTIONS

TANF time limit rules are temporarily suspended. TANF benefits will not expire and TANF months will not count during this time period.

TANF sanction rules are temporarily suspended. TANF cases will not be sanctioned during this time period.

TANF and GA clients who have a medical exemption set to expire will have their exemption automatically extended during the public health emergency. TANF and GA clients will have to submit a new health assessment form to be eligible for a medical exemption after their current exemption expires or the public health emergency ends.


TEMPORARY EXPANSION OF FOOD BENEFIT ELIGIBILITY FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 temporarily expands food benefit eligibility for college students. Students enrolled at least half-time in an institution of higher education may be able to get food benefits if they meet one of the following exemptions:

  • Are 17 years old or younger, or 50 years old or older;
  • Have a physical or mental disability;
  • Receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits;
  • Are enrolled in a TANF Employment and Training program;
  • Work at least 20 hours a week;
  • Participate in a state or federal work study program;
  • Participate in an on-the-job training program;
  • Care for a child under the age of 6;
  • Care for a child age 6 to 11 and do not have adequate child care enabling you to attend school and work 20 hours a week or participate in a work study;
  • Are a single parent enrolled full-time in college and taking care of a child under 12;
  • Are assigned to or placed in a college or other institution of higher education through an approved employment and training program;
  • New Temporary Exemption: Are eligible for, but not necessarily participating in, a state or federal work study program during the current school year;
  • New Temporary Exemption: Have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $0 for education costs in the current school year.

Students who meet one of the exemptions listed above may receive food benefits if they meet all other eligibility criteria. The two new temporary exemptions will remain in effect until 30 days after the COVID-19 public health emergency is lifted.

FAIR HEARINGS AND ADMINISTRATIVE DISQUALIFICATION HEARINGS

The DSS Fair Hearing Unit resumed scheduling hearings, holding hearings, and issuing hearing decisions on June 1, 2020. Administrative Disqualification Hearings resumed on October 1, 2020.


CARES ACT EXPANDED UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AND ECONOMIC IMPACT PAYMENTS

The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes several provisions aimed at helping people that are experiencing financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Act temporarily expands unemployment benefits and provides economic impact payments to eligible individuals and families.

FEDERAL PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION (FPUC)

The extended FPUC benefit does not count as income or a resource when the Division of Social Services determines eligibility and benefit levels for food benefit, cash assistance, and child care programs.

Click here for more information from the Delaware Department of Labor's COVID-19 Response Center.

ECONOMIC IMPACT PAYMENT/STIMULUS CHECK

The first and second economic impact payments do not count as income or a resource when the Division of Social Services determines eligibility and benefit levels for food benefit, cash assistance, and child care programs.

Click here for information from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on the economic impact payments.

If you missed the November 21, 2020 deadline to submit your information for the first economic impact payment, you can claim the economic impact payment as a credit on a 2020 federal income tax return. Click here for more information.


ADVANCE 2021 CHILD TAX CREDIT PAYMENTS

The American Rescue Plan expands the Child Tax Credit for tax year 2021 to provide additional relief to families during the public health emergency. Beginning July 15, 2021, eligible families will receive a payment of $300 per month for each child under age 6 and up to $250 per month for each child age 6-17 from July through December 2021. Click here for more information.

Advance payments of the 2021 Child Tax Credit do not count as income or a resource when the Division of Social Services determines eligibility and benefit levels for food benefit, cash assistance, and child care programs.


COVID-19 FUNERAL ASSISTANCE

FEMA is providing financial assistance for COVID-19 related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020. COVID-19 Funeral Assistance will help with expenses for funeral services and interment or cremation. Click here for more information.

EMERGENCY BROADBAND BENEFIT

The Emergency Broadband Benefit is an FCC program to help households struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emergency Broadband Benefit provides eligible households with a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband internet service and a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet. Click here for more information.

MEDICAID

Click here for Medicaid policies on COVID-19.


RESOURCES

Contact Delaware 2-1-1 by dialing 2-1-1 or click here to access community resources and referrals for assistance with food, housing, medical care, and more.

Click here for Department of Education Student Nutrition Sites. Delaware families may pick up meal bags for children 18 and under who live in their home.

Click here to access child care information on My Child DE or contact Children and Families First at 1-800-734-2388 or click here.


Click here for the latest information on COVID-19



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