|DATE:||Feb. 10, 2023|
|SUBJECT:||Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – Expiration of Program Flexibilities for the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency|
|TO:||All SNAP State Agencies|
To help Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) state agencies prepare for the lifting of the COVID-19 federal public health emergency (PHE) declaration on May 11, 2023, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is sharing the enclosed table summarizing the timelines for ending PHE flexibilities. These flexibilities include waivers of SNAP regulations, adjustments of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, temporary changes to eligibility criteria for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) and students, and the issuance of Emergency Allotments (EA) during the PHE.
Please refer to the table for specific items and see the summary below describing when operation of these policies ends.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) authorizes FNS to approve adjustments of program procedures when a PHE is declared and a state issues an emergency or disaster declaration based on a COVID-19 outbreak. These adjustments will end no later than June 30, 2023, as the authority expires at the end of the month following the month in which the PHE declaration is lifted. For state agencies operating adjustments where the state-level emergency of disaster declaration ends prior to May 11, 2023, the adjustment will end on the expiration date provided in its approval, or June 30, 2023, whichever is earlier.
Waivers FNS approved under its administrative waiver authority during the PHE expire on the date provided in state agency’s approval. Please refer to the expiration date provided in the Waiver Information Management System (WIMS) for more details.
Time Limit for Able-Bodied Adults without Dependents (ABAWDs)
The FFCRA requires state agencies to suspend the time limit and stop assigning countable months for ABAWDs, except for any month in which the state offered the individual a slot in a qualifying work program and the individual did not meet the work requirement in that month (without good cause). This suspension expires on June 30, 2023. State agencies with an active waiver of the time limit on July 1, 2023, may continue to suspend the time limit in accordance with the conditions of their approval. For more information on reinstating the time limit for ABAWDs, please refer to the Sept. 20, 2021, memo “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Preparing for Reinstatement of the Time Limit for Able-Bodied Adults without Dependents (ABAWDs).”
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, (CAA, 21) created two temporary exemptions for students enrolled at least half-time in an institution of higher education (IHE). Once the PHE declaration is lifted on May 11, 2023, the temporary student exemptions will remain in effect for initial SNAP applications for an additional 30 days. State agencies must continue to apply the temporary exemptions to initial applications filed on or before June 9, 2023. State agencies must process initial applications filed on or after June 10, 2023, using only the student exemptions at Section 6(e) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 and 7 CFR 273.5(b).
The CAA, 21 also specifies that state agencies must stop applying the temporary exemptions at the household’s next recertification beginning no earlier than 30 days after the PHE is lifted. Recertification applications submitted through June 30, 2023, must be processed using the temporary exemptions. Recertification applications submitted on or after July 1, 2023, must be processed using only the student exemptions at Section 6(e) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 and 7 CFR 273.5(b). For more information on the end of the temporary student exemptions, please refer to the Oct. 12, 2022, memo “End of Temporary Student Exemptions in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.”
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 (CAA, 23) ends SNAP Emergency Allotments (EA) that were authorized by FFCRA. The CAA, 23 terminates EA after the issuance of February 2023 benefits. Therefore, the last benefit month that may include EA is February 2023. For more information on the end of EA, please refer to the Jan. 6, 2023, memo titled “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – SNAP Emergency Allotments (EA) Provision in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023.”
State agencies with questions should contact their respective regional office representatives.
Program Development Division