By Rocky Garza Jr.
Roger Navarez, this college’s case assistant navigator from the San Antonio Food Bank, wants students to check to see if they are eligible for SNAP benefits.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or (SNAP), is a program that provides families with a food budget and have access to purchase healthy foods at the grocery store.
On Jan. 16, the SNAP requirement policy changed. Prior to that, Students enrolled at least half time, or six hours, in an institution of higher education were typically ineligible to receive benefits unless they met certain exemptions.
Those exemptions include being younger than 18 or older than 50; have a physical or mental disability; work at least 20 hours a week in paid employment; participate in a state or federally financed work study comp mod program; participate in an on-the-job training program; care for a child under the age of 6.
Additional exemptions include care for a child aged 6-11 and lack the necessary child care to attend school and work 20 hours a week or participate in work study; are a single parent enrolled full-time in college and taking care of a child under 12, receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, and are enrolled in a TANF Job Opportunities and Basic Skills, or jobs program.
Under the rules of The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, SNAP eligibility expands to include students who are participating in state or federally financed work study.
Students who also have an expected family contribution, or EFC, of zero in the current academic year and receive a maximum Pell Grant are considered eligible, as well.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, the exemptions will stay in effect until 30 days after the Covid-19 public health emergency is lifted.
The department’s webpage states that the existence of the public health emergency has been renewed.
Naravez said that in collaboration with this college, he is contacting more than 4,000 students who may be eligible.
“These students can call us directly at the student advocacy center or reach out to me by phone and mention you’re a student at this college. We want students to become more aware of these benefits they could be missing out on,” Naravez said.
For more information about the policy change, visit Students | USDA-FNS.
To contact Narvaez, call 210-431-8326, (The San Antonio Food Bank) or 210-486-0111, (the student helpline).