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COVID-19 and Food Stamps- Registering for Work

Food & cash benefits

Last updated on 04/21/2021 at 6:42 pm

I get food stamps. I’m supposed to register with Workforce WV for job services, but I can’t get through. What can I do?

Being able to afford food is really hard for many West Virginians right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For those struggling to buy food or dealing with unemployment, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”) helps families supplement their budgets so they can purchase food.   As part of the program, SNAP recipients between the ages of 16-59 are required to register for work.  In West Virginia, to meet this requirement, eligible SNAP recipients must register with Workforce West Virginia once a year. Once SNAP recipients register, they are required to contact Workforce West Virginia every three months to update the agency on their employment status.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many SNAP recipients were unable to contact Workforce West Virginia either by telephone or the agency’s website.   So to continue SNAP benefits to those in need, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (“DHHR”) voluntarily waived the registration requirement for several months.    However, in early August 2020, many SNAP recipients began receiving letters from DHHR stating that the registration requirement was reinstated.   The letters also stated that if the SNAP recipient did not register with Workforce West Virginia by September 1, 2020, their SNAP benefits may be terminated.

Unfortunately, many SNAP recipients were unable to contact Workforce West Virginia by the deadline, and their SNAP benefits were terminated or suspended.   However, since September 1, DHHR has reversed its initial decision.  DHHR has reinstated the waiver of registering with Workforce West Virginia if the recipient contacts their local DHHR office and requests a good cause exemption because they cannot get through to register with Workforce WV.   Also, DHHR has reinstated SNAP benefits of those who had been previously terminated or suspended if they requested a good cause exemption.   DHHR has stated that it plans to continue the registration waiver until the federal public health emergency (PHE) expires.

If you are a SNAP recipient, and need to contact Workforce West Virginia, the best way to contact the agency is via email.   Below is a list of local Workforce offices and their email addresses.  Once you email the offices, someone will contact you so you can register by telephone.   Because the federal public health emergency may end soon, you should contact Workforce West Virginia by email as soon as possible.

WORKFORCE OFFICE EMAIL ADDRESSES

WorkforceJOBS@wv.gov

If you can’t contact Workforce WV by email, or if your SNAP benefits have been terminated or suspended because you weren’t able to register, Legal Aid of West Virginia may be able to help. To apply, contact us at 1-866-255-4370 or apply online.