The Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 (PL 116-127), enacted March 18, 2020, includes a general provision that allows the Department of Agriculture to issue emergency allotments (EA) based on a public health emergency declaration by the Secretary of Health and Human Services under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act related to an outbreak of COVID-19 when a state has also issued an emergency or disaster declaration.
In January 2021, the Department obtained Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval to collect the information as described in this Notice for a period of one year (OMB Control Number 0584-0652; expiration 1/31/2022). The President's Executive Order on Economic Relief Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic, issued Jan. 22, 2021, directed all Federal agencies to consider administrative actions to better address the current economic crisis resulting from the pandemic.
FNS reviewed existing EA policy and issued updated state guidance on April 1, 2021, outlining a new approach to calculating EA that provides greater equity for households most in need. The April 2021 guidance supersedes previous guidance issued in March 2020 and April 2020. In addition to outlining a new EA minimum benefit policy, the April 2021 guidance describes an EA phase-out request states may use when their state-level emergency declaration expiration date is imminent.
The state agency process for requesting EA, as outlined in the April 2021 guidance, remains generally unchanged, though the state must now confirm that the state's emergency or disaster declaration remains active when requesting EA. USDA anticipates the need to collect the data beyond the expiration date and is seeking approval of this Information Collection Request in order to meet the continuing information collection and reporting requirements detailed in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020.