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Gov. McMaster extends emergency SNAP supplements through December

Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 11:58 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Two days before federally-funded emergency SNAP supplements for lower income elderly, young and at-risk South Carolinians were set to expire, the state extended them through the end of the year.

Since the state is no longer under a declared state of emergency, the supplements were set to expire on Sunday.

South Carolinians who receive SNAP benefits, used for the purchase of household food, will continue receiving the monthly supplement through Dec. 31.

Pre-pandemic, SNAP benefits were determined by size of household and income. But with the additional benefits, recipients have received the maximum amount for the size of their household, regardless of income.

Connelly-Anne Ragley, the director of communications and external affairs for the Department of Social Services, said this expiration could have had a major impact on South Carolinians, who had been receiving the additional benefits since March 2020. She gave the example that a single-person household that received $19 per month before the pandemic would receive $234 with the additional benefits.

DSS reported the average household would lose $177 in benefits had they not been extended.

“We hope that this will continue to allow families to put food on the table,” Ragley said.

DSS Director Michael Leach wrote a letter to Gov. Henry McMaster on July 28 to request authorization for the extension, writing that approximately 295,000 households currently receive SNAP assistance in the state.

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Department of Social Services Director Michael Leach wrote a letter to Gov. Henry McMaster on July 28 to request authorization for the extension, writing that approximately 295,000 households currently receive SNAP assistance in the state.

In a response, McMaster wrote:

Our moral and ethical duty during the COVID-19 pandemic is to protect the lives of the most vulnerable South Carolinians – our elderly, young and at-risk population. Currently, the Department of Social Services is providing 610,000 vulnerable South Carolinians with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance benefits for the purchase of household food.

Accordingly, I hereby direct the department to take all actions necessary to remain authorized by the federal government to receive emergency SNAP supplements until December 31, 2021 or until termination of the federal public health emergency, whichever occurs first. By taking this action, we are protecting vulnerable and at-risk South Carolinians, while avoiding disruption and confusion at grocery stores and markets across our State.

In order to continue the emergency allocations, DSS submitted an Administrative Agency Declaration to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and received approval Thursday.

“I believe that Gov. McMaster was making the best decision for the information that he had at the time, and we were just thankful that we are able to apply for this, and so our SNAP beneficiaries in South Carolina will see no change,” Ragley said.

DSS will renew its request with the USDA monthly through the end of the year.

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