FACT 80 (Changes Due to Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021)
Food Assistance Change Transmittal No. 80
January 7, 2021
TO: Food Assistance Certification Handbook Holders
FROM: Kimberly Henderson, Director
SUBJECT: Changes Due to Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021

Background: The Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 was signed on December 27, 2020, and included the following changes: increases the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) maximum allotments by 15% through June 2021, excludes Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) payments in SNAP eligibility determinations, excludes Coronavirus rebate payments to eligible households, and temporarily expands student eligibility under certain circumstances.

New Procedure:

Temporary Increase in SNAP Benefits:

Beginning January 1, 2021 through June 30, 2021, the SNAP maximum allotments have increased, and the minimum benefit has increased from $16 to $19. This additional benefit amount shall be disregarded in determining over-issuance amounts.

This increase is separate from the monthly emergency allotments which bring an assistance group (AG) up to the maximum allotment. As long as Ohio continues to be approved to issue emergency allotments, an AG may receive both the emergency allotment and the temporary increase to their benefits. The temporarily adjusted amounts are listed below.

Maximum Food Assistance Allotments

AG Size Maximum Allotment
1 $234
2 $430
3 $616
4 $782
5 $929
6 $1,114
7 $1,232
8 $1,408
each additional +$176
Minimum Allotment $19

Implementation: The changes in the maximum allotments will be implemented in Ohio Benefits via a mass change beginning January 8, 2021. In order to ensure ongoing eligibility is updated prior to benefit issuance cutoff, February and ongoing benefits will be implemented January 8, 2021 through Jan 13, 2021. Then January benefits will be supplemented with a mass change that will run January 15, 2021 through January 20, 2021.  An exception report will be created for all cases which Ohio Benefits cannot update automatically.  The eligibility worker will be required to run the Eligibility Determination/Benefit Calculation (ED/BC), then save and accept the results for those cases to implement these changes.  Each assistance group will receive a notice with an update to the benefits they will receive.

Excluding Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC):

Effective December 27th, for the purposes of determining SNAP eligibility or calculating benefit allotments, the $300 weekly FPUC is to be excluded as income for SNAP and shall not be counted as a resource for the month of receipt and for the following nine months. This also includes the $600 weekly amount previously issued as part of the CARES Act. Therefore, if an assistance group has any of the $600 CARES Act income remaining in their bank account, or if they are  approved for this money, it shall not be counted as an income or resource for the month of receipt and the following nine months. 

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) are still included as income for purposes of determining eligibility or calculating benefit allotments.

Additional Coronavirus Recovery Rebates:

The Act authorized additional $600 rebate payments to eligible individuals, including children, similar to those authorized under the CARES Act Section 2201. These rebates are excluded from consideration as income in the month of receipt and as a resource for 12 months following receipt for SNAP purposes. A household would not be considered to have exceeded the income limit due to these payments because they are excluded, but receipt of these payments could affect a household’s eligibility after 12 months if the payments cause the household to exceed the resource limit.

Student Eligibility:

Effective January 16, 2021, eligibility for SNAP shall be temporarily expanded to include students enrolled at least half-time in an institution of higher education who are also:

  • eligible to participate in a State or Federal work study program during the regular school year, as determined by the institution of higher education (please note: The Act expands the eligibility exemption to students who are eligible to participate in work study during the regular school year, without the requirement they actually participate); or
  • expected to have a family contribution (EFC) of $0 in the current academic year as determined in accordance with part F of Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 195 (20. U.S.C. 1087kk et.seq.).

This change shall be in effect as follows:

  • Initial applications: for 30 days after the COVID-19 public health emergency is lifted.
  • Recertifications: the first recertification beginning no earlier than 30 days after the COVID-19 public health emergency is lifted.

We are awaiting further guidance from the United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) on this change, and we will provide it upon receipt.

If you have any questions regarding any of these changes please contact Program Policy Service at TANF-FSTA@jfs.ohio.gov.