Bend.. and SNAP! How Medicaid & SNAP Funding Have Changed Post-Pandemic

September 29, 2023

On March 1, 2023, the Department of Workforce Services (DWS) began reviewing all Medicaid cases for eligibility. Prior to this the federal government would not allow any State to disenroll Medicaid clients regardless of eligibility changes as part of its response to the public health emergency. From March until August, the department has reviewed 121,025 cases for eligibility. As of August 2023, the department has 167,728 cases still to review of which 37% are being held open because they are not following the normal eligibility process since the public health emergency. Further information can be found on the Medicaid website.

The continuous enrollment resulted in significant increases in Medicaid Enrollment. The program grew from approximately 320,000 individuals in January 2020 to approximately 532,000 individuals in April 2023. Continuous enrollment ended in April 2023 and Utah began the process of reviewing eligibility of all 532,000 individuals enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This process involves determining if individuals are still eligible for Medicaid, CHIP, or need to transition to other coverage options, such as the federal health insurance marketplace. To help enrollees, DWS has created this landing page with details and resources.

When the federal government declared a public health emergency at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, it allowed for additional monthly Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Emergency allotments allowed all SNAP households to receive an additional $95 in benefits or an additional benefit valued up to the maximum benefit for their household size, whichever value was greater. With the passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, remaining federally funded temporary emergency aid programs ended. As of March 2023, recipients received the monthly allotment they were eligible for based on household size and income, with one allotment being issued per month. It is important to note that the SNAP benefit amount is 100% federally funded and eligibility for the SNAP program did not change. Additional information and frequently asked questions regarding the program can be found here.

Additionally, the Able Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWD) SNAP benefit will also undergo a change. The ABAWD SNAP benefit was available to able bodied adults without dependents for 3 months in a 36 month timeframe.  ABAWD individuals were exempt from this time limit if they were 49 years old or older.  With the passing of the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, the ABAWD age exemption will be increased from 49 to 52 years old beginning October 1, 2023. 

In partnership with the Utah State Board of Education, DWS administered the SNAP Pandemic EBT or P-EBT program.  This program is for school age children who were eligible for free and reduced meals during SY 2022-2023.  They were eligible to receive a one-time payment of $120 in P-EBT summer benefits to help offset the increased costs to families while children are out of school.  Payments were issued in July 2023 for these families.  DWS issued $25,050,000 in benefits for 208,731 students.  

The SNAP P-EBT benefit is 100% federally funded and the payment was not a cash benefit, but rather was added to an EBT card and was restricted to food purchases.  The SNAP P-EBT program has become a permanent program, renamed SNAP Summer-EBT.  DWS and USBE are working together again to provide this benefit to eligible children in the summer of 2024.