MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Help is on the way for thousands of South Carolina families. The Department of Social Services is maximizing food stamp benefits this month while looking for more ways to support foster families.
In response to a U.S. Department of Agriculture federal waiver, the DSS approved two months of emergency supplements for March and April. The boost is to help current SNAP recipients and those recently eligible with additional costs during COVID-19.
Katie Thrower, a Myrtle Beach parent with three biological sons and two foster children, stays busy like most parents, especially now with them all out of school during COVID-19.
“I know right now for a lot of the school-age children it’s hard because they’re home for three meals of the day instead of being at school for breakfast and lunch so it’s taxing on some families to have all of those extra expenses,” Thrower said.
Feeding children during school closures means buying more groceries. Buying more groceries means paying more money many don’t have the means to spend. The state is providing South Carolinians who qualify for SNAP benefits an emergency boost based on household size and income.
“If you’re getting a certain amount of money based on the requirements, we would move you up to the maximum within that eligibility category,” Michael Leach, Director of Social Services said. Leach also mentioned the DSS is working to provide foster families additional support temporarily in the next couple weeks.
Here’s a look at the maximum monthly SNAP allotments by household size:
|For each additional member:||$146|
The need comes as DSS reports a dramatic increase in snap applications. Before COVID-19, an average of 700 snap applications were received daily in the state. The volume is three times higher today.
“We have to continue to do this business, we have to make sure children are safe, adults are safe, and people are getting benefits so they can survive,” Leach said.
Officials say first-time SNAP benefit recipients may get the supplement separately. Households who already receive the maximum benefit will not be eligible. To see if you are eligible for the SNAP program, click here. Some locations are serving meals for kids near you when schools are closed.
Qualiﬁed applicants for the SNAP program usually receive SNAP beneﬁts within 30 days of their application. Some families and individuals who need expedited beneﬁts can begin within seven days of application. To apply online, click here.