GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - The number of people needing help from the Mississippi Department of Human Services has jumped drastically since the COVID-19 crisis started. MDHS Executive Director Bob Anderson made a visit to the coast Tuesday to thank the workers who have processed thousands of new SNAP applications.
Jackson and Harrison counties are among the top three counties in the state with the highest number of food stamp applications. Since the pandemic began, Harrison County has averaged about 1,400 per week. That’s an increase of almost 75 percent.
But some people are no longer eligible for food stamp assistance due to the extra $600 added to their unemployment, a problem the MDHS director said he’s tried to resolve.
“We requested a waiver and asked that that not be counted against people who are applying for SNAP benefits. Because in determining eligibility, we have to count all of the household income, and FNS [Food and Nutrition Service] has declined to grant us a waiver. We’re having to take some folks off the roll based on their unemployment benefits,” Anderson said.
Some Mississippians could be eligible for help even after going back to work. Those who need assistance can apply every month, and each time there will be an eligibility review. Applications can be found at MDHS.ms.gov/applications/