American Rescue Plan: Health and Nutrition Programs

Overview 

The American Rescue Plan includes nutrition assistance, including temporary increases for SNAP and WIC benefits, as well as additional funding for programs that provide aging, disability services, and mental health services.

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Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) 
There is a 15 percent increase in monthly SNAP benefits for January through September 2021The December COVID relief law also extended SNAP eligibility to college students who are eligible for a federal or state work-study program or for certain types of federal student aidIf you have received Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, those benefits will not be counted toward household income for SNAP benefits or eligibility for the month of receipt and the following nine months. Certain SNAP program requirements are also being waived during the pandemic to increase access to benefits.

For more information on accessing SNAP benefits in Washington state, please visit this website. 

Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
The American Rescue Plan provides funding to temporarily boost the value of the Cash Value Voucher (CVV) in the WIC program up to $35 per month for women and children for a four-month period during the COVID-19 pandemic. Certain program requirements are also being waived during the pandemic to increase access to benefits. 

For more information on accessing WIC benefits in Washington state, please visit this website. 

Child Nutrition Programs
The bills have included additional funding and waivers of program requirements for Child Nutrition Programs to ensure children receive meals while school is not in session and to ensure access to nutritious meals and snacks for children enrolled at day care centers, participating in afterschool meal programs, and residing in emergency shelters, as well as older Americans or those living with a disability enrolled in day care facilities. 

A new Pandemic EBT program is available to ensure access to emergency food benefits for school children. This program was authorized under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to provide eligible school children with temporary emergency nutrition benefits loaded on EBT cardsChildren who would have received free or reduced-price meals if their schools were not closed or operating with reduced hours or attendance for at least five consecutive days are eligible to receive Pandemic EBT benefits. The American Rescue Plan allows the Pandemic EBT program to be implemented for any school year in which the COVID-19 public health emergency designation is in effect and allows for benefits to be extended through the summer. 

The American Rescue Plan also temporarily expands the age of eligibility for the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) at emergency homeless shelters from 18 to 25 for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.