St Paul (KROC AM News) - Some good news for Minnesotans who may be dealing with food-related needs during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services has been informed it is receiving $55 million in emergency SNAP aid through the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The department says “These vital funds will maximize nutrition assistance for approximately 134,000 households, with more than 250,000 people.”

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program offers monthly food benefits based on a household’s income, expenses, and number of people.

The department will begin issuing the emergency funds April 28 and continue throughout May on a staggered basis. People who qualify don’t have to take any action as the supplemental aid will be added to their Electronic Benefit Transfer cards.

The emergency supplements will go to households that didn’t receive the maximum amount of nutrition assistance in March and April. The supplemental assistance will vary by household, with monthly amounts averaging $149. For example, a family of four that receives $497 per month would get an emergency supplement of $149, bringing them to the maximum monthly benefit of $646 for a four-person household.

Households that already receive the maximum amount of SNAP benefits won’t get an emergency supplement.

“Emergency SNAP supplements will make a real difference to families who need help now,” Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead said. “Ensuring that Minnesotans with low incomes have the resources they need to put food on the table is critically important during this pandemic.”

The Department of Human Services has been encouraging people experiencing hunger to find out if they are eligible for SNAP. Information about SNAP and other hunger resources is collected on the DHS food emergency webpage. Food help is also available through the Minnesota Food HelpLine, 1-888-711-1151.

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