SNAP Benefit Extension
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 was signed into law on December 27, 2020. Within its provisions, it directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture to extend eligibility of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), previously called food stamps, to a student population due to the current pandemic.
Now students enrolled at least half-time with a -0- estimated family contribution (EFC) or state or federal work-study eligibility can be considered (along with other qualifying requirements) for SNAP benefits.
This temporary extension runs through 30 days after the Department of Health and Human Services' public health emergency due to COVID-19 is lifted. SNAP benefits are intended to assist students who, through completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and meeting other qualifying criteria, show that they could find themselves with food insecurity.
Application for federal SNAP benefits happens at the state level and is often administered by county within each state. Applicants who believe they meet eligibility requirements and wish to receive SNAP benefits should apply in their current state of residence and verify their eligibility as requested by the state or county agency.
In Ohio, the application process for food assistance can be completed online or by calling 1-844-640-6446, 8a - 12n, Monday - Friday.
Benefit qualification reviews your household so you may need to apply for SNAP with other people you live with including:
- Your parents if you are under 22 years old,
- Your children who are under age 22 if you are a parent,
- Your spouse, and
- Anyone else with whom you live and share most (2/3 or more) of your meals.
Verification of Enrollment
Most county agencies will use your course registration schedule from Catalyst as your verification of enrollment. You do need to show you are enrolled at least half-time.
While UC may define half-time as 6+ hours as an undergraduate or 5+ hours as a graduate or professional student, state agencies may take a more standard approach and require 6+ hours for minimum half-time enrollment requirement.
Verification of EFC or Work-Study Eligibility
Different states may seek different verification sources for either of these eligibility criteria when you apply for SNAP benefits.
Your award offer may serve as a primary source of verification. Your UC award offer available via Catalyst will show any award made for Federal Work-Study (FWS). We do not have a state work-study option in Ohio. Note that eligibility for FWS is sufficient. You do not have to be actively working a work-study position to meet this criterion under current legislation.
Your award offer can also verify your EFC indirectly. Agencies have been made aware of the maximum Federal Pell Grant that corresponds to a -0- EFC. For 2020-21, that was a Pell of $6,345 ($3,172.50 per semester). For 2021-22, maximum Pell is $6,495 ($3,247.50 per semester). For 2022-23, maximum Pell is $6,895 ($3,447.50 per semester).
At the same time, students who have a bachelor's degree are not eligible for a Pell Grant award and students in half-time programs may, by virtue of their program, show only a half-sized Pell award on the award offer. Still other students may have exhausted their 6-year Pell limit. As such, you may have to provide your county agency a copy of your Student Aid Report that shows your -0- EFC. It was emailed to you when you applied for aid, and it would also be available online.
Eligibility measures are tied to the current academic year. UC's academic year 2020-21 ran through summer 2021 (August 9, 2021), 2021-22 began fall 2021 (August 23, 2021) and ran through summer 2022 (August 6, 2022), and 2022-23 runs from fall 2022 (August 22, 2022) through summer 2023 (August 5, 2023).
Enrollment Services Assistance
All determination for SNAP eligibility is done with the county or state agency. UC's OEnrollment Services staff cannot qualify you for SNAP.
However, when working with your agency, Enrollment Services (email@example.com; 513-556-1000) can assist you in accessing verification of enrollment and financial aid criteria used in determining eligibility.
Students should work closely with their caseworker in the county or state agency that manages SNAP benefits in order to complete SNAP applications and get clear instructions on necessary documents to verify eligibility. It will save students, the county agency, and Enrollment Services staff time if you have a clear accounting of what is necessary so that Enrollment Services staff can best direct you in accessing documentation, when needed.
It is the student's responsibility to apply for and meet any requirements for SNAP benefits as determined by the county or state agency.
This information is shared to inform students of expanded eligibility for SNAP benefit consideration. However, the UC Student Financial Aid Office or Enrollment Services cannot approve a student for SNAP benefits.
While Enrollment Services can assist you in locating documentation that may be requested, it is important to work with your county or state agency that determines SNAP eligibility to make application and understand verification and documentation requirements for certification and recertification of eligibility.
Students are also responsible for working with their caseworker to understand any necessary steps for continuing benefit coverage especially with the change of current academic year and the new FAFSA.
Students may also qualify for other benefits or funding made available for COVID relief by the federal government.