UPDATE: Social Services resolves Virginia emergency SNAP benefits delay

Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)- The Virginia Department of Social Services said emergency allotments for its Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) should be available to all eligible households as of 3pm on Tuesday.

The update comes after VDSS confirmed just before noon that they were working to identify and resolve an issue delaying payments for 370,000 households who receive the supplemental benefits on the 16th of the month.

“Based on the information we received, today’s delay was the result of a technical issue. The issue has now been resolved and should not impact future issuances,” VDSS Public Affairs Associate Director Cletisha Lovelace said in a follow up email Tuesday evening. “We apologize for the inconvenience caused by this unexpected delay.”

The agency previously said these benefits would be automatically loaded onto recipients’ Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards on Nov. 16.

Cristina Mullins, a SNAP recipient from Franklin County, said she generally expects the allotments to appear around midnight. Yet, when she woke up on Tuesday morning, the money wasn’t there, forcing her to put her shopping trip on hold.

With food costs soaring from inflation, Mullins said she was waiting on $600 to stock up for her family of four. Many on Facebook said they needed the money to start shopping for Thanksgiving.

“My grocery bill has doubled,” Mullins said. “When it comes to feeding your family, it’s pretty frustrating when they tell you something is going to be there and then it’s not there.”

During the pandemic, the additional allotments have raised monthly benefits of existing SNAP recipients to the maximum amount allowed based on household size.

Mullins, who just started a new job, said the payments made a huge difference when she was unemployed.

“I’m very appreciative of the service and the help,” she said.

However, Mullins said Tuesday wasn’t the first time she struggled to get answers about a social safety net program from the state.

“You can’t get in touch with anybody in Social Services to ask why or when it is going to be available,” Mullins said.

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