Agencies announce coronavirus-related changes

Agencies announce coronavirus-related changes
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ORANGEBURG, S.C. (The T&D) - Agencies have announced the following changes due to the coronavirus pandemic:

DSS announces emergency SNAP assistance: The South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS) has received a federal waiver from the United States Department of Agriculture to provide two months of emergency SNAP supplements to address temporary food needs for SNAP households.

This emergency SNAP supplement will bring all households up to the maximum benefit amount, based on household size, regardless of income. SNAP households who already receive the maximum benefit amount will not receive an emergency supplement. SNAP recipients who already received a benefit in March will receive an additional supplement on their EBT card on March 28, 2020.

State parks closing through April: Beginning Saturday, March 28, all state parks in South Carolina will be closed through Thursday, April 30, to support the state’s response to COVID-19. The closure is designed to keep visitors and employees as safe as possible by mitigating the spread of the Coronavirus.

Visitors who are currently occupying campsites and cabins can remain through the duration of their rental reservation as long as they continue to practice the state’s recommendations for social distancing. All new reservation arrivals, however, from Saturday, March 28, to Thursday, April 30, will be canceled and refunds issued.

This is the third limited-access directive the Park Service has made this month in response to public health advisories. Earlier, state parks canceled all large-group gathering reservations and suspended all interpretive programming and special events for March. Those suspensions remain in place through April. For two days this week, parks closed day-use areas like picnic grounds, lakefronts, and trails. Those areas will remain closed through April 30 as well.

More time to get REAL ID: The Department of Homeland Security has announced it would extend the enforcement date of the Federal REAL ID Act of 2005 from October 1, 2020 to October 1, 2021.

“I’m pleased to see DHS made this necessary decision in light of current events impacting our state and nation related to COVID-19,” said South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV) Executive Director Kevin Shwedo. “This extension gives South Carolinians additional time and further ensures wait times at SCDMV offices remain low versus growing to four or six hours like we have been anticipating.”

To date, the SCDMV has issued more than 1.2 million REAL ID driver’s licenses and identification cards. Customers are encouraged to take advantage of to see if they’re eligible to purchase their REAL ID license from home. There are still 350,000 people eligible to buy their REAL ID license online because all of their documents are already on file. We encourage people to take advantage of this opportunity.

Meals for seniors: To support the home self-quarantine instruction, the Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) has expanded the meal program and are now accepting referrals for adults 60+ years of age who need food in the home. This temporary service will continue until COVID 19 ends. Thereafter, if the individual chooses to be contacted for future services, they will be assessed for eligibility at that time. The contact numbers for this are listed below:

For Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, and Orangeburg counties, the toll-free number for AAA is 1-866-845-1550. The caller needs to ask for the COVID 19 Meals. The caller may also contact Lower Savannah Council of Governments at their direct line at 803-649-7981.

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