April 03, 2020

Congressman Neguse Introduces Legislative Package to Ease Restrictions on SNAP and WIC During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Washington D.C.—Today Congressman Joe Neguse announced new legislation to ease restrictions on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women, Infants & Children (WIC) program to ensure recipients of those resources can maintain social distancing advice while also utilizing their benefits, and access essential home goods.

The Food and Necessities During Public Emergencies Act of 2020, led by Congressman Neguse would allow for SNAP benefits to be used to purchase certain durable household goods, such as diapers and cleaning products, during COVID-19 and future national emergencies. 

The Food Assistance for Kids and Families During COVID-19 Act of 2020, led by Congressman Joe Neguse and Congresswoman Jahana Hayes would ensure SNAP and WIC benefits can utilize grocery store delivery services to ensure vulnerable beneficiaries can access their benefits while staying at home. 

“Given Congress’s expanded emergency funding of SNAP and WIC throughout this public health emergency and the economic uncertainty of the COVID-19 outbreak, it is imperative that we adapt the rules of these benefits to meet the pressing realities of our time,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “We must ensure families across Colorado who depend on food security offered through these programs can continue to feed their families without violating social distancing protocols or Colorado’s “Stay-at-home” order.”

“We appreciate Representative Neguse responding to the needs of Coloradans with this bill,” said Marc Jacobson, CEO of Hunger Free Colorado of the Food Assistance for Kids and Families During COVID-19 legislation. “Removing barriers to delivery for families utilizing SNAP at this uncertain time is vital. This bill would also allow food banks and food pantries to use the food we have quickly and to serve more people. We need these policies and we will be working with Representative Neguse, our state, and the federal government to make sure every Coloradan can obtain the food they need to stay healthy and safe.”  

“I strongly support Congressman Neguse's efforts to ensure that all families can access food and other necessities while staying safe,” said State Senator Faith Winter. “We are in this together and together we can address food insecurity while protecting public health.”

“Countless vulnerable families across Colorado are struggling to stay safe during this outbreak due to choking restrictions in our SNAP and WIC programs. We need to adapt our response measures to allow those who require food assistance to remain safe,” said State Senator Robert Rodriguez. “During a time of great public and personal risk, grocery delivery cannot be reserved as a privilege for the few, but rather a service accessible to anyone who needs it.”   

Specifically the Food Assistance for Kids and Families During COVID-19 Act of 2020 led by Congressman Neguse, alongside Congresswoman Jahana Hayes would provide the following: 

  • Allow grocery delivery for SNAP participants, by allowing for the EBT card to be swiped either at the point of home delivery (with a mobile device) or when the order is picked up at the store; 
  • Authorize public private partnerships between USDA and authorize SNAP retailers to support grocery delivery during the emergency; 
  • Authorize additional funds to support delivery and make food available for SNAP participants who are seniors, immunocompromised individuals, or others who are unable to travel safely to a grocery store; 
  • Allow food banks to waive administrative requirements to enable the safest and most efficient delivery of food aid to all who need it during an emergency. 
  • Extend the WIC certification period for infants from 1 year to up to 2 years; and extend the certification periods for postpartum women to 2 years postpartum to reduce needless travel for certification appointments.