Public health emergency extension will continue to benefit those receiving assistance | Local News

The public health emergency that has expanded eligibility for Medicaid for more than two years will be extended past the middle of July and likely into October.

It has also allowed increased benefits for recipients under SNAP, or the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that provides food assistance for poor families who qualify.

About 6,800 people in Danville receive SNAP benefits, and 13,395 residents benefit from Medicaid, said Tess Moss, benefits manager with the Danville Division of Social Services.

But Danville Social Services could not provide numbers for how many current Medicaid recipients are only eligible due to the public health emergency. They will not know until Medicaid eligibility reviews are done after the public health emergency ends, Moss said Monday.

Expanded Medicaid and enhanced SNAP benefits have helped out those affected by the COVID pandemic, Moss said.

“It’s been beneficial because of the loss of income and jobs when there were layoffs,” Moss said.

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Those who got sick from COVID-19 but had Medicaid in place have not had to worry about whether to go to the hospital or their doctor due to the expense, she said.

Workers laid off or whose hours were cut could still feed themselves and their families with increased SNAP benefits, she added.

The US Department of Health and Human Services has renewed the public health emergency several times since first declaring it in January 2020. Under the declaration, the US can give emergency authorization of drugs, vaccines and other countermeasures, and administer them at no out-of -pocket cost.

The department extended the emergency on April 16 for another 90 days, continuing it through mid-July. it will likely be extended again to October, Moss said.

States will receive a 60-day notice in the event of termination of the public health emergency.

As for reviews of Virginia Medicaid beneficiaries’ eligibility, the federal government in March 2020 offered states extra funding if they halted them. Virginia agreed and received more than $1 billion in additional federal money and added 500,000 people to its Medicaid program, VPM/NPR reported May 18.

There are more than 1 million Medicaid cases to review in the state, Moss said.

Danville residents may apply for benefits by completing an application and leaving it at 510 Patton St., or by mailing it to: Danville Social Services, PO Box 3300, Danville, Virginia 24543.

Applications are available at the Danville Social Services office during regular office hours from 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday.

Applications can also be downloaded from the Virginia Department of Social Services.

“It’s been beneficial because of the loss of income and jobs when there were layoffs.”

Tess Moss, benefits manager with the Danville Division of Social Services

Tess Moss


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