Almost 22 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the past month, as they have been laid off due to the coronavirus outbreak.
In addition to the money people are requesting to help with rent and utilities from unemployment, they're also submitting applications for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Applications for SNAP benefits are up across the country, and in many places the requests for help have doubled.
Typically, traditional college students aren’t eligible for SNAP becuase they live on campus and have a meal plane; however, as college students are forced off their campuses, some are finding help from SNAP.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), college students with no dependents ages 18-49 are not eligible for SNAP benefits if they attend school at least half time.
According to benefits.gov, “In order to qualify for this benefit program, you must be a resident of the state of Georgia and meet one of the following requirements:
You have a current bank balance (savings and checking combined) under $2,001, or
You have a current bank balance (savings and checking combined) under $3,001 and share your household with one of the following:
a person or persons age 60 and over or
a person with a disability (a child, your spouse, a parent, or yourself)”
The USDA announced today that all households who receive SNAP benefits will see a 40% increase added to their accounts for at least 2 months. The intention is that families will have enough to see them through until the end of the national emergency period. Approximately $2 billion a month will be distributed.
For senior forensic science major Jasmine Perkins, the benefits were helpful.
“Us no longer living on campus and receiving a meal plan made us eligible to receive SNAP," she said. "It was very easy to apply; the application took about 20 minutes and it took me exactly a week to get approved. I would encourage other students to apply to receive SNAP because you can receive your own money for food and not have to eat your parent's groceries due to this unexpected stay.”
To find out if you qualify, you can call 1-877-423-4746, and if you would like to apply to receive the benefits you can apply online here: https://gateway.ga.gov/access/