The U.S. Virgin Islands has received a temporary increase to the maximum Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program allotments, called SNAP, due to COVID-19, the Department of Human Services announced.
In a news release issued on Tuesday, the department said the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021, signed Sunday by President Donald Trump, increases SNAP benefits by raising maximum allotments to 115 percent of the June 2020 value of the Thrifty Food Plan. The legislation requires that the increased maximum allotments take effect beginning on Jan. 1 and remain for each subsequent month through June 30.
For current USVI recipients, the temporarily increased maximum allotments are:
Household size and increased benefit amount:
1 – $301
2 – $553
3 – $792
4 – $1,005
5 – $1,194
6 – $1,433
7 – $1,584
8 – $1,810
Each additional person – $226
In its news release, the Department of Human Services also reported ongoing SNAP and households receiving Cash Assistance from Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Aid to the Aged, Blind and Disabled, which was due to re-certify over the next six months, will have their certification period extended for an additional six months, from Jan. 1 to June 30. That means on Jan. 1 SNAP and/or CASH benefits will be automatically uploaded to recipients’ cards.
The department asked current SNAP or Cash recipients to disregard any notice of expiration they receive in the mail for an appointment this month. Clients do not need to call or visit the SNAP offices. Instead, all clients should look out for a letter in the mail informing them of their next recertification appointment.
Updated Contact Information Critical
Though the automatic six-month extension has been granted, if the SNAP offices do not have a person’s current and accurate mailing and phone contact information, they may experience a disruption in benefits.
To ensure there is no disruption in the receipt of benefits, the department offered the following advice:
- The DHS SNAP offices are receiving a high volume of “undeliverable” mail packets. Contact the Certification offices at the phone numbers or emails below to ensure that they have the correct – per the post office – mailing address and phone number. DHS has no way of contacting clients without accurate and working phone numbers, mailing addresses and email addresses.
- Send an email or call the Certification offices and provide the name of the head of household or case number and a working phone number so that the department can contact you if you have been unable to reach a staff person.
The contact information for the three offices is:
– Human Services – DFA 4201 Mars Hill, Frederiksted, St. Croix 00840 Phone No: (340) 772-7100 Fax: (340) 772-9591 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
– Human Services – DFA 1303 Hospital Ground, Ste 1, St. Thomas 00802 Phone No: (340) 774-2399 or (340) 774-0930 Fax No: (340) 777-5449 Email: email@example.com
– Human Services – Multi-Purpose Building Cruz Bay, St. John Phone: (340) 776-6334 or (340) 776-6335 or (340) 774-0930 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org