Emergency food relief is coming soon to more than 250,000 Minnesotans who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to feed themselves during the coronavirus pandemic.

Minnesota is receiving about $55 million in emergency SNAP aid through the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act. These vital funds will maximize nutrition assistance for approximately 134,000 households, with more than 250,000 people. SNAP offers monthly food benefits based on a household’s income, expenses and number of people.

“Emergency SNAP supplements will make a real difference to families who need help now,” Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead said. “Ensuring that Minnesotans with low incomes have the resources they need to put food on the table is critically important during this pandemic.”

The Minnesota Department of Human Services will begin issuing the emergency supplements to qualifying households on April 28 and will continue throughout May on a staggered basis. People who qualify don’t have to take any action. Instead, the supplemental aid will be added to their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards.

The emergency supplements will go to households that didn’t receive the maximum amount of nutrition assistance in March and April. The supplemental assistance will vary by household, with monthly amounts averaging $149. For example, a family of four that receives $497 per month would get an emergency supplement of $149, bringing them to the maximum monthly benefit of $646 for a four-person household.

Households that already receive the maximum amount of SNAP benefits won’t get an emergency supplement.

The Department of Human Services has been encouraging people experiencing hunger to find out if they are eligible for SNAP. Information about SNAP and other hunger resources is collected on the DHS food emergency webpage. Food help is also available through the Minnesota Food HelpLine, 1-888-711-1151 or www.mnfoodhelpline.org. Counties and tribes continue to accept and process SNAP applications under Governor Walz’s stay-at-home order. Applications can be done online at ApplyMN or by phone, mail, fax or drop boxes at county and tribal human service offices.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services serves more than 1 million Minnesotans through programs including health care, economic assistance and other services.