Policy and Advocacy
We have wonderful news to share: Community Legal Services and its co-counsel Morgan Lewis has reached a settlement with the USDA on the lawsuit brought last year challenging its interpretation of the Families First act that authorized SNAP emergency allotments during the COVID-19 pandemic. USDA’s interpretation under the prior federal administration had deprived the poorest SNAP beneficiaries of any “emergency allotments” (EAs).
Finally, more than 650,000 of the poorest Pennsylvania households are going to receive over $700 million in SNAP stemming from the lawsuit. A single person who has been receiving the maximum SNAP will get an extra $835 in SNAP because of this victory. A family of two will get $1,533, and larger families even more. (Note, these amounts cover the period from September11, 2020, when the injunction was granted, through April 30, 2021). You can read more about the details of this prolonged fight to secure help for those who need it the most in the CLS press release and the article in today's Philadelphia Inquirer.
In addition, USDA has committed to revising its emergency allotments guidance going forward. This presumably means an estimated 12 million people nationwide who have been denied EAs up to this point will be able to get extra SNAP during the pandemic. We don't know the details yet, nor do we know when DHS will be able to issue these extra benefits to Pennsylvania households. We will keep you posted as more information becomes available. For now, BIG THANKS to the legal team at CLS and Morgan Lewis for their hard work to secure this victory!