COLORADO — With hundreds of people losing their jobs or being furloughed during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s putting many people in challenging times.
The El Paso County Department of Human Services is busy processing hundreds of requests for benefits such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Due to waivers applicants are receiving the maximum amount of benefits they're eligible for right now.
“That’s going to help a lot of families who may be were only getting half as much as they might based on their household size, income, things like that. It’s also going to put a lot of food costs and money into the community,”, said Karen Logan, Director of Economic and Administrative Services.
During the last few weeks, the number of requests for SNAP benefits has doubled compared to the same time last year. While not surprising, county staff are doing their best to keep up with the influx in requests. Logan says there's no need to worry about benefits running out.
"We have more than enough of what we need to be able to give people to what it is that they're going to need," said Logan.
However, waivers from the federal and state government have made the process time quicker for SNAP applicants. Currently, interviews are not required for applicants- unless there are any questions staff have based on the information they've been given.
“We're getting caught up right now because of these waivers”, said Logan, who says they're working to get to same-day process for requests.
Anyone who had benefits set to re-certify in March, April, or May are also being advanced for another six months.
In addition to waivers, the county is working to provide additional resources for those who may have other challenges, such as transportation, right now. With El Paso County being one of the largest in the state, there's a lot of people to look out for.
“If you think about people living out east, how do they get to a grocery store to get the food that they're needing? So the county and the community has really stepped up on a lot of those things,” Logan said.
If you’d like more information or need to apply for SNAP visit the following link: Benefits Assistance.