EO aims to help struggling families by expanding food assistance
Mike Seals - January 25, 2021 10:46 am
OKLAHOMA CITY (KOCO) — President Joe Biden signed more executive orders on Friday, including one that looks to help struggling families by expanding food assistance.
Officials with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services said that two key components of the executive order will affect the SNAP program, meaning more benefits could be on the way for recipients.
For Adult and Family Services Director Patrick Klein, it’s good news.
“Having more tools and more resources to be able to provide these critical needs is just such a tremendous act of hope and … just so encouraging,” Klein said.
The order aims to ensure families don’t go hungry and calls on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to increase pandemic EBT-benefits by 15% while addressing the Thrifty Food Plan, which hasn’t been updated in years.
“As we all know, costs for food have generally increased in many of our budgets,” Klein said. “So, looking at that again has the potential to increase or bring those benefits in line with costs that are actually being experienced today.”
Children’s health is also being emphasized. The order addresses that kids who were out of school due to them being closed still received meals they would have gotten while in school.
“I think that’s one of the things a lot of people don’t know about the SNAP program. For those children to have food for their evening meal, on the weekends, during the summer, SNAP is a key component of that nutritional supplement,” Klein said.
For families receiving food assistance or looking to apply, the changes, if made, won’t be immediate. Klein said that the Department of Agriculture has to review them before guidance is sent out to states, and that could take weeks or longer.