DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa Department of Human Services says there are taking a "comprehensive approach to address food insecurity" during the COVID-19 pandemic
The DHS submitted federal waivers to Food and Nutrition Services to ensure continued and expanded access to food. Food Assistance will continue for all current recipients, and benefits will increase for both current and new recipients.
Benefits will expand to the maximum allowable amount per household for April and May. If the household isn't already receiving maximum benefits for those months, the additional benefits will be added to their EBT card with their normal monthly benefits.
Adjustment of Food Assistance will also add the loss of school lunch to eligibility requirements. The DHS is collaborating with the Department of Education to research opportunities related to increased food insecurity for Iowa families who rely on school lunch programs.
Additionally, Food Assistance households who have re-certification due in March, April or May have had their their cases re-certified for the next six months.
The state can now also suspend work requirements for Food Assistance, except in limited circumstances. Recipients will also have not have benefits terminated for not complying with work requirements.
On top of that, people statewide can now use their EBT cards to purchase food online through both Amazon and Walmart. Amazon will deliver to all Iowa ZIP codes, and Walmart will have the service available for all store locations that offer online grocery.
Iowa DHS is working to include other retailers in the program as well.
Food Assistance recipients will be able to use their benefits to buy the food, but won't be able to use them to pay service charges or delivery fees.
For more information on the new policies put in place for the COVID-19 epidemic, click here.