UVM expert answers questions on coronavirus and food

WATERBURY -- Vermont has become the latest state to pilot the use of online shopping with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food benefits.

Additionally, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) has announced that many 3SquaresVT (Vermont's name for SNAP) households will get a higher benefit in June to further help through the current health crisis.

Starting last week, Vermonters can use their 3SquaresVT benefits to purchase eligible food items from either amazon.com or walmart.com.

“This pilot gives people who get 3SquaresVT more options to put food on their tables, safely,” said DCF Commissioner Ken Schatz. “This is important during the current health crisis, especially for vulnerable Vermonters. Some may be at higher risk for COVID-19; some may not have access to private transportation.”

For information about how it works, go to dcf.vermont.gov/benefits/EBT/online.

The extra funding -- to be received on June 16 by EBT, June 19 by direct deposit, or when a check arrives by those households that were eligible in May -- is part of the federal Coronavirus Relief Bill. It is not a permanent increase, and households already getting the maximum 3SquaresVT benefit or a zero benefit will not get an increase.

Households that are eligible will receive an increase equal to the difference between their original benefit and the maximum benefit for their household size. A one-person household will get $194, two-persons $355, three-persons $509, four-persons $646, and five-person households $768. Each person beyond five will add $146 to the household’s amount.

“Vermonters are facing economic hardship and food insecurity because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Schatz. “This higher benefit will help make sure they can get the food they need.”

3SquaresVT households don’t need to do anything to get the increased benefit.

Learn more about 3SquaresVT at dcf.vermont.gov/benefits/3SquaresVT

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