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This page offers all of Delaware Public Media's ongoing coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it is affecting the First State. Check here regularly for the latest new and information.

State looks to maximize SNAP benefits, EBT cards for newly qualifying families still in the mail

Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media

The state begins issuing emergency benefits to people receiving food assistance later this week, and state officials say new cards for families who now qualify for federal food benefits are in the mail. 

The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act signed into law in March allows food benefits to families of children who receive free or reduced-price meals when schools are open or who attend schools that offer free meals to all students. It also allows for maximum benefits for all households already receiving support from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). 

State officials say some of the newly-qualifying Delaware families have called asking when they will receive a new Pandemic EBT card to take advantage of the federal program. 

A spokesperson from Delaware’s Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) says the cards were sent out Wednesday and are expected to take seven to 10 business days to arrive. 

Theresa Gallagher is a senior social service administrator for Delaware’s SNAP program. She says the challenge has been processing families that were not already receiving SNAP benefits. 

“For families and children that we don’t know that aren’t in our system, those are coming in from the Department of Education, and so we are pulling those files together and those are being sent over to our contractor to process,” said Gallagher.  

Meanwhile, the maximum emergency benefits are expected to automatically load to recipients EBT cards for use starting this Saturday. 

Marcella Spady is another senior administrator for Delaware’s SNAP program. She notes the total amount issued will be based on the size of the household. 

“The clients that will see the biggest increase will be someone that was at our minimum where they were receiving like $16, and for one individual they could go up to $194,” said Spady.  

The average size of a SNAP household in Delaware is about two individuals and the average monthly benefit amount is $233. 

Those already receiving the maximum will not receive additional SNAP benefits. Many SNAP households also received emergency benefits in March and April.

Spady says the new federal qualifications added about 60,000 families to the more than 40,000 already receiving federal food assistance in Delaware. 

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