|DATE:||April 29, 2021|
|SUBJECT:||SNAP State Administrative Funding – American Rescue Plan Act of 2021|
|TO:||All State SNAP Agencies
On March 11, 2021, President Joseph R. Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (the Act). This legislation provides support for American families, state governments, and communities to rebuild and respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Today, I write to you to discuss the road ahead and how we can work together to implement the Act by helping Americans to put food on their tables.
As indicated in our implementation memorandum dated March 12, 2021, Section 1101(b) of the Act provides $1.135 billion in administrative funding to state agencies to support SNAP program administration. The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) intends to distribute $245 million in fiscal year 2021, and $445 million each in fiscal years 2022 and 2023.
Our expectation is that you will use these funds to achieve the President’s objective with this legislation, which is to make a difference in people’s everyday lives. This funding provides a unique opportunity for state agencies to make investments in their business processes and improve their technology in a way that will increase access while maintaining stewardship of federal dollars. FNS expects that state agencies will use this funding to supplement, and not supplant, their existing investments in SNAP. State agencies are encouraged to direct administrative funding provided by the Act to SNAP improvements aligned with key Administration priorities, including:
- Investment in technology to improve client access to SNAP, including online applications, benefit management tools, text messaging, and ensuring all client access is mobile enabled.
- Expand call center capacity and reduce call center wait times.
- Make investments in state employees and infrastructure to provide the necessary technology and training in order to modernize customer service delivery.
- Explore opportunities to improve service delivery and access to vulnerable populations that may be disproportionately impacted by remote operations, language barriers, fear of government services, and a lack of access to technology.
- Improve reporting systems to ensure timely and reliable information is provided to FNS, Congress, and stakeholders on program outcomes and activities, including major systems changes.
- Revise SNAP webpages, instructions, and guidance to ensure program information is easy to find, clear, concise, and provided in the required languages.
As the President has stated, this is the time to take bold and decisive action in order to build a better tomorrow by strengthening nutrition assistance. Congress has appropriated substantial additional funding to state agencies to ensure you have financial resources to fulfill these promises. FNS takes this responsibility seriously and will continue to take action that supports program participants and state investments, such as further expansion of online purchasing and opportunities to streamline administrative burdens. I look forward to working with each of you to successfully implement the Act.
State agencies with questions should contact their respective regional office representatives.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program