Exemption extended for SNAP recipients

Published 2:11 pm Saturday, March 28, 2020

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Deadline to stay a month after emergency ends


The Franklin locality-wide exemption for residents having to work or volunteer at least 20 hours per week — in order to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits for more than three months — was slated to end on Wednesday, April 1. That has been extended as a result of provisions in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020, which became law on March 18.

According to Franklin Social Services Director Sarah Rexrode, effective April 1, all localities in Virginia will become exempt, and will remain so until one month after the national public health emergency has ended.

As previously reported, Franklin’s original waiver from SNAP’s work and workforce training requirements had been in place since 2008. That’s when Congress passed an amended version of the Food and Nutrition Act, which granted the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service the authority to waive the three-month limit and work requirements in localities with unemployment rates greater than 10 percent or a lack of sufficient jobs.

In late 2019, the USDA had finalized a new rule changing the conditions under which the FNS could issue waivers to able-bodied adults without dependents, effectively eliminating the locality-wide exemption for many areas, including Franklin.