1 1 (March 31, 2020)

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              Researh Sevice





USDA Domestic Food Assistance Programs'

Response to COVID-19: P.L. 116-127, P.L. 116-

136, and Related Efforts



Updated March 31, 2020
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrtion Service (FNS) programs are often part of
emergency response efforts, providing program flexibilities, foods for distribution, and benefits for
redemption. Emergencies generate different FNS responses, which can vary with states' requests. During
the COVID-19 pandemic, access to food-particularly in light of school closures-has been a concern for
many. Some also view the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as a force for economic
stimulus. This Insight discusses related provisions of the second and third COVID-19 legislative
packages, which supplement FNS's prior COVID-19 response with new funds and authorities.


USDA-FNS Responses To-Date

FNS maintains a COVID-19 response website. The website includes a state-by-state list of waivers, some
of which USDA has issued using new authorities under P.L. 116-127 (discussed below).
Some options already existed under current law. For example, during unanticipated school closures,
school districts that normally operate the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program
may transition to serving meals through the summer meals programs.
In addition, USDA may authorize emergency feeding programs during a presidentially declared disaster
or emergency. USDA has approved requests from certain states and Indian tribal organizations to operate
a Disaster Household Distribution program.


Families First Coronavirus Response Act (P.L. 116-127)


Supplemental Appropriations for WIC and TEFAP (Division A)

P.L. 116-127 provides a $500 million supplemental appropriation for the Special Supplemental Nutrition
Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). It also provides a $400 million supplemental

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