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Congresswoman Bice Joins OKDHS and USDA to Announce Extension of SNAP Benefits

May 21, 2021

Oklahoma City – Congresswoman Stephanie Bice (OK-05), together with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), today announced an agreement to extend federal emergency SNAP benefits through the end of 2021.

These enhanced benefits were previously set to expire in July. The agreement was negotiated by OKDHS Secretary Justin Brown with the USDA Office of Food and Nutrition Services (FNS).

“The COVID19 pandemic has put a strain on our families and seniors who rely on SNAP benefits for food security. Oklahomans are returning to work, but our most vulnerable citizens should not worry about where their next meal is coming from,” Rep. Bice said. “This extension will provide them access to the supplemental nutrition they need now and ensure that our community partners, like the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, have the time to return to normal operation. I applaud Secretary Brown for his work negotiating this agreement.”

SNAP Emergency Allotments can only be spent on groceries and allow nonprofit partners to focus their resources on those who do not qualify for the program or are in emergency situations. More than 70% of Oklahoma’s SNAP participants are families with children; over 32% of participants are families who have elderly or disabled members.

These services have returned $472 Million taxpayer dollars back to Oklahoma in just the first five months of 2021.

“OKDHS is fortunate to have outstanding relationships with our federal delegation and partner agencies,” said Sec. Justin Brown. “Those partnerships will now benefit the hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans who utilize SNAP benefits to feed their families. We are grateful to Congresswoman Bice, Governor Stitt, Food and Nutrition Services, and many other partners for supporting our agency as we sought this flexibility on their behalf.”

"This solution is the extension of a lifeline for Oklahoma families so they can continue to put food on the table as they continue to recover from the economic impact of the pandemic. It will also bring millions of our tax dollars back home to help our fellow Oklahomans," said Chris Bernard, executive director of Hunger Free Oklahoma.  "We are grateful for the work of our leaders who continue to serve Oklahoma families."