Phoenix.- Yvonne Knight, who has breathing problems that make her especially vulnerable to the coronavirus pandemic, cannot buy food online with her food stamps, even though every trip to the store is now a dangerous expedition. Going out to buy terrifies the 38-year-old woman, who suffers from cerebral palsy. She is one of millions of people who receive eating aid through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a federal system that offers little flexibility.
«Every time I go out, I put myself and others at risk,» said Knight, who lives in Erie, Pennsylvania. «Now I’m terrified when people come up to me. I don’t want to go shopping.» Only SNAP recipients in six states can buy food online, something many Americans do to reduce the frequency with which they leave home, and Pennsylvania is not one of them. Now, state governments and food security activists across the country implore the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make the system more flexible and accessible, at a time when many people lose their jobs and seek help from the Government. Calls have even come from conservative states where lawmakers have tried to reduce or limit food aid. In Arizona, Republican Gov. Doug Ducey asked the agency to suspend the requirement for personal interview with applicants, allow families to buy hot food, remove the requirements to work for some people, and allow some changes that would help families deal with the economic effects of the pandemic. Ashley St.You may also be interested: Tokyo Stock Exchange raises 4.2% for reduced deaths by Covid-19Thomas, director of public policy for the Arizona Food Bank Network, praised the governor’s petition and added that relaxing the requirement that beneficiaries show that working at least a few hours a month is «crucial right now,» especially since millions of people are losing their jobs, whether as wage earners or in unregulated or platform-based jobs on the internet. Amanda Siebe, 35, a resident of Hillsboro, Oregon, has a medical problem that causes chronic pain and compromises her immune system, so she tries to avoid departures. But he’s already having a hard time subsisting on his SNAP benefit – $194 a month – under normal circumstances, and now he’d love to have more cash so he could buy more food and limit travel to the store.» We need to buy food that not only lasts the whole month, but gives us a little bit to stock up so we can move on without having to worry about what’s going to happen in the future,» Siebe said. Especially since most of us can’t leave the house very often.» For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms such as fever and cough. But some, especially the elderly or people with previous medical problems, may die or suffer more serious complications such as pneumonia, which means that those people need to take extra precautions. That increased need for food aid and calls for making it more flexible come right after a crialed initiative by the president’s government, Donald Trump, to reduce the approximately 700,000 people who receive food stamps. A court blocked the changes, and the government promised to appeal. For now, and with much of the economy on hiatus, state governments were calling for an increase in the number of beneficiaries and red tape to access the program. You may also be interested: Nuevo León will use helicopter to exhort you to stay at homeIn Pennsylvania, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf asked the Department of Agriculture on Thursday to eliminate several requirements and urged the federal government to expand a program pilot launched in the states of New York and Washington to allow people to use their credit card-like program cards to buy food online. Amazon and Walmart accept online payments with SNAP in Iowa, Nebraska, Oregon, Washington and New York, where They are also accepted by ShopRite. In Alabama, Wright’s Markets, Inc. accepts those payments online. In Missouri, the social services department requested and obtained exemptions to extend snap’s grant by six months so that people were not expelled from the program during the pandemic. Food security activists recommended that the government go further and give states the ability to adapt their programs. This would expand the number of beneficiaries with minimal paperwork, said Ellen Vollinger, legal director of the Food Research and Ation Center.
The program has been vital in natural disasters that swept through specific cities or regions, and activists say it could be one of the crucial tools to help Americans endure a pandemic that hits the entire country at once.
«Profits go quickly to the economy. They wear out,» Vollinger said.
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Original source in Spanish