Government Food Benefits Available to Help You

If you have experienced financial setback during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to take note of the resources below that can help you in getting food on your table and other financial assistance.

Where can you get help?

The government programs below are designed to help families keep their pantry stocked when food budget is limited. Learn your options and do not miss out!

  • Economic Impact Payments of up to $1,200 for qualifying individuals earlier in 2020 and $600 for qualifying individuals early this year;
  • Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, which sent up to $600 in additional weekly benefits through December 26, 2020, and $300 in additional benefits through at least March 13 this year;
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which provides unemployment benefits to self-employed individuals and others who do not qualify for unemployment;
  • Temporary mortgage forbearance for eligible homeowners with federally-backed mortgages through at least June 30 this year; and
  • Temporary forbearance for eligible federal student loan borrowers.

All of these are on a national level but you can also look for help at the state and local level. Check with your utility company if they offer some kind of coronavirus financial relief, too.

Your options for food assistance

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Benefits or SNAP. This federal program offers a monthly benefit via an eletronic benefits transfer card with money that you can use to purchase food. Note that the benefits only apply to eligible food items,

Women, Infants, and Children or WIC. Eligible parents receive vouchers that can be used to purchase specific food items for children including baby formula, cereal, milk, cheese, and juice. This program mainly serves women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or within six months of giving birth or having a pregnancy end. Children under 5 years old can also receive benefits.

School lunches for children. If you have school-aged children and their school participates in government initiatives, they can get free food under the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, and Summer Food Service Programs.

Remember that you can look into food banks and food pantries, churches, non-profit organizations, and community gardens or farm cooperatives for help regarding food, too. Research what is available in your area to find the help that you need.

Ian Schindler