Expiration of the federal Public Health Emergency (PHE) brings changes to agency programs
During the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of flexibilities were granted for Oklahoma Human Services programs. Changes in Federal rules in Dec. 2022 and the end of the federal Public Health Emergency (PHE) brings many of these flexibilities to an end. As a result, agency customers can expect changes to their benefits, as outlined below.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- SNAP Emergency Allotments (EA) ended Feb. 28 due to the signing of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 (CAA) in Dec. 2022. Beginning in March 2023, your regular monthly SNAP benefit amount is based on your household size, income and expenses. It is important to report any changes in your circumstances since you last renewed your SNAP benefits.
- For the past three years, you have been receiving the max SNAP benefits for your household size. These extra benefits were intended to help pay for food costs during the COVID emergency and were launched in 2020 by Congress. New federal rules have gone into effect that have brought the max benefits to an end.
- The SNAP higher education student policy temporary exemptions will end at the expiration of the PHE effective May 11, 2023
- During the PHE, students were temporarily granted exemptions when they qualified for work study but were not participating, or when they had an expected family contribution of $0 in the current academic year
- SNAP interviews are returning on June 1, 2023.
- During the PHE, Oklahoma Human Services did not have to conduct interviews for new SNAP customers. This waiver expires May 31, 2023, bringing interviews back on June 1.
- Able Bodied Adults without Dependent Children (ABAWD) time limits are returning to the SNAP program effective July 1, 2023.
- Prior to the pandemic, ABAWDs had short timeframes for eligibility, and the end of PHE brings back these pre-pandemic rules.
Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) Work Program
- The end of the PHE brings no changes in TANF benefit amounts. However, household income will be considered in eligibility determination for medical benefits at the next review date.
- Oklahoma Human Services partners with the state’s Medicaid agency, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA), to determine eligibility for SoonerCare (Medicaid) benefits. The agency must follow rules set forth by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), as outlined below
- During the PHE, CMS temporarily waived certain Medicaid requirements and conditions allowing people on Medicaid to continue their health coverage during the pandemic. Now states are required to end continuous Medicaid coverage by March 30.
- CMS, the federal agency over Medicaid, requires medical benefits not be closed or reduced until a customer’s eligibility is re-determined within 12 months of April 1.
- Oklahoma Human Services has begun mailing customers notices to complete their annual review for an eligibility re-determination. The notices will be sent in batches, spread out through a 12-month period. Customers determined to be ineligible will be removed from SoonerCare upon the completion of their re-determination review and referred to other medical-based programs.
For additional details, visit https://oklahoma.gov/ohca/about/public-health-emergency.html.
Child Care Subsidy
- Child Care Subsidy interviews are returning on June 1, 2023.
- During the PHE, Oklahoma Human Services did not require interviews for new Child Care Subsidy customers.
- Child Care Subsidy customers will pay 50% of their family co-payments beginning in Oct. 2023 through Sept. 2024.
- For the past three years, Oklahoma Human Services has been covering 100% of co-payments for families receiving subsidized child care. As the PHE comes to an end, families will gradually transition back to paying the full co-payment.
- Beginning Oct. 2023, income of essential workers will be considered to determine eligibility for the Child Care Subsidy program.
- For the past three years, Oklahoma Human Services has been providing free subsidized child care to designated essential workers and first responders. As the PHE comes to an end, this program will no longer be available, and normal eligibility rules will resume.
Who can I contact if I have questions or need to update information in my case?
·You may contact Oklahoma Human Services at (405) 522-5050.