CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) is sharing updates and changes to Department programs in its Bureau for Medical Services and Bureau for Family Assistance effective with the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) on May 11, 2023.
Bureau for Medical Services – Medicaid and WVCHIP
During the PHE, Medicaid and WVCHIP initiated continuous eligibility, suspending the eligibility redetermination process and allowing coverage to continue regardless of changes in situation or eligibility group.
The Medicaid and WVCHIP continuous eligibility provision was separated from the PHE declaration in December 2022, signaling that the traditional redetermination process would be reinstated.
DHHR began campaigns to encourage individuals and families covered by these programs to verify their contact information with their local DHHR office, the DHHR Customer Service hotline, or online through the WV PATH portal to allow Department staff to provide required renewal forms for coverage redetermination.
Medicaid and WVCHIP eligibility unwinding began in April, with the first benefit closures effective May 1, 2023. Closure letters include information on how to appeal the decision as well as contact information for federal Marketplace health insurance plans. WV Navigator provides free enrollment assistance to West Virginians exploring Marketplace plans through online chat or email, or phone at 1-844-982-2737.
Bureau for Family Assistance – SNAP
The work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for Able Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs) resume statewide starting July 1, 2023. SNAP is a program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered by DHHR’s Bureau for Family Assistance.
This requirement impacts SNAP recipients ages 18-49 without children or other qualifying dependents, and who lack an identified condition that would prevent them from participating in a qualifying work, volunteer, or education activity.
All potentially impacted individuals will receive a letter in mid-May with more information. Those who believe they should be exempted from this requirement are encouraged to speak with their caseworker.
Caseworkers can also provide referrals to the SNAP Employment & Training program which can help meet this requirement through job placement and training.
Bureau for Family Assistance – Pandemic EBT
DHHR will be issuing Pandemic EBT benefits for school children who are eligible for free or reduced school lunches and were enrolled in school as of May 15, 2023. This one-time $120 benefit will be issued to qualifying families in mid-June to help with the cost of food during the summer school break.
Children who already received a P-EBT card for previous issuances will receive the benefit on the same card. New cards will be issued to those who didn’t previously receive one. Eligible families will receive a letter with more information in the first week of June. If a P-EBT card has been lost, this letter will also include information on how to request a replacement card.
While this is the final round of Pandemic EBT benefits, DHHR’s Bureau for Family Assistance is currently working with the West Virginia Department of Education to create a permanent Summer EBT program that would begin in summer 2024.