Chief Financial Officer Barb Fabelo said the only numbers they could get from the state on how much they had distributed in emergency COVID-19 food stamp supplements were from March 3, when $3 million of the $6.3 million disbursed came from emergency supplements. Overall, Butler County’s spending on food stamps in 2019 was $49.8 million, jumped to $81.1 million in 2020 and to $113.1 million last year.
Terry Perdue, executive director of Shared Harvest Foodbank, said they were already experiencing food shortages – 28 food trucks have been canceled in the past four months – and the end of the food supplement could have been devastating.
“When people are losing these essential benefits that they’ve depended on for a good part of the pandemic, the length of that, having taken that away at such a crucial time, when inflation is at its highest in several years, what is what that does is that would bring more people to our pantries and we also have food shortages…” Perdue said. “If this were to end in July, with all of these factors combined, we might not have the food to alleviate the problem with SNAP gone and more people turning to us for help. “
As for Medicaid, Gilbert said in April 2020 that about 89,000 people were using pandemic benefits and 106,000 last month. She said they have regular meetings with the state about how they plan to recertify Medicaid recipients to determine who may no longer be eligible after the PHE permanently expires.
State officials told the Journal-News they have no firm confirmation of the PHE extension, although it has been widely reported. The PHE has been extended several times and the US Department of Health and Human Services has promised to give states 60 days notice before it expires, with that deadline for the July 15 benefit expiration passing last week. . Gov. Mike DeWine’s press secretary, Dan Tierney, said news outlets nationally reporting that he had been extended were likely correct.
“They didn’t provide a review on this so I think it’s a weird story because the national articles are correct it looks like it’s been extended but it’s extended by inaction,” Tierney told the Journal-News.
Bill Teets, director of communications for the Ohio Department of Employment and Family Services, said they weren’t officially notified but agreed with Tierney.
“Monday was the day the federal government would have provided the promised 60-day notice if it intended for the current PHE to end on July 15,” Teets said. “Since that notice has not come, I think there is an assumption that there will be another 90-day extension.”