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After extensive efforts to find an allowable approach, Georgia this week received federal approval to provide food benefits to our youngest Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients for the 2021-22 school year.

For children to qualify for this benefit, they must have been under age 6 at the start of the 2021-22 school year and SNAP-enrolled during the months of August 2021 through May 2022. Families of eligible children will receive about $30 dollars for each month they were eligible.

The Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) partnered with the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning to utilize data thanks to flexibility provided by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to administer benefits. These additional food benefits will start being paid out in September 2022.

Without this flexibility and partnership, the state could not have secured approval. In previous years, the state used a vendor to compile student-level attendance data from each school district since it is not otherwise collected and centralized, but the vendor decided not to proceed with this year’s plan. The state has taken action to prevent future delays due to external factors.

DHS continues to work with our federal partners on similar opportunities to maintain and enhance children’s access to nutritious meals. Additional information will be shared as it is available.