Last updated April 10, 2020
Economic Security Division
Benefits for June, 2020 will also contain the maximum amount allotment!
How are individual rebates/stimulus payments authorized under section 2201(a) of the CARES Act treated for SNAP purposes?
- The payments are excluded from consideration as income in the month of receipt and as an asset for 12 months following the receipt for SNAP purposes. (They are being treated the same a stax returns).
- A household would not be considered to have exceeded the income limit due to these payments since they are excluded, but receipt of these payments could affect a household’s eligibility after 12 months if the payments cause the household to exceed the asset limit.
How are Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Payments authorized under the CARES Act treated for SNAP purposes?
- Any of the pandemic unemployment assistance payments under the CARES ACT are considered unearned income for SNAP eligibility. The pandemic unemployment assistance payments are treated the same as any other unemployment payments.
Will I lose my SNAP benefits if I am a student and I have lost my job?
- Federal requirements require students to be working an average of 20 hours per week or 80 hours per month, if not meeting an exemption to the work requirement. There is a possibility for a good case to be granted for not meeting the work requirements due to COVID-19. Please contact your worker or local DFS office to discuss your individual circumstances.
Benefits (SNAP, Cash Assistance, etc.) No Current Benefit Delays
Our top priority at this time is to be able to serve the public while ensuring the health and safety of our staff and our neighbors. If you find yourself in need of assistance (i.e. SNAP, Cash Assistance, Child Care Assistance) or have questions on an already open case please contact your local field office (https://dfs.wyo.gov/about/contact-us/), they are available to assist you. For your safety and convenience, phone interviews are available and encouraged. At this time there are no delays for any of the benefits that our agency administers. We will continue to do everything we can to ensure access to our programs and resources throughout this time.
How Do I apply for benefits?
For Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (aka food stamps), please go to the SNAP page for all information related to qualifying and applying for SNAP benefits.
For Personal Opportunities with Employment Responsibilities (POWER) benefits (aka cash assistance), please go to the Cash Assistance page for all information related to qualifying and applying for cash assistance.
For Child Care Financial Assistance benefits, please go to the Child Care Assistance page for all information related to qualifying and applying for Child Care Assistance.
Do I have to come into the DFS office to submit my Application for Benefits and/or other paperwork?
No. The Department of Family Services takes the health and safety of our clients and staff very seriously. Based on this we want you to be aware that there are many ways you can turn in needed paperwork to your worker at your local office that do not require you coming to the office.
- We have drop boxes outside the majority of our offices for your convenience and safety.
- We can accept emails, faxes, and items mailed via the USPS.
- You do not have to have a scanner to send up paperwork! If you have a smartphone you can take a clear picture of the required paperwork and email it to your worker directly from your phone. If you do not have your caseworker’s email address, please contact the office in which they are located using the Contact Us and Locations page.
- You are not required to do an in person interview with us to get benefits. In fact, phone interviews are encouraged and preferred at this time.
- If at any time you are having issues getting needed paperwork submitted please contact your worker and they will work with you on how we can get this resolved.
What if I have Questions about my Current Case?
Please call or email (if you have the email address) your caseworker. You can find local office contact information on the Contact Us and Locations page.
Change in Able-Bodied Adults without Dependents (ABAWDs) Requirements (SNAP):
If you are a single adult receiving SNAP benefits and you have work requirements you have to meet as well as have a limited number of months you receive benefits, you are an ABAWD. If you are an ABAWD, it is important to know that the time limit for ABAWDs has been temporarily and partially suspended due to COVID-19 and applies during the period of April 1, 2020 through the end of the month subsequent to the month in which the public health emergency declaration is lifted. The only time ABAWD months will count is if the ABAWD refuses suitable employment or quits without good cause. If you have any questions, please contact your caseworker. You can find local office contact information on the Contact Us and Locations page.
Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP):
The federal government has allocated additional funds to LIEAP. DFS is still waiting on the exact amount of those additional funds. Once the exact amount is received, DFS will announce possible additions and/or extensions to the LIEAP Program.
At this time, though, the crisis season is being extended from April 15, 2020, to at least May 31, 2020.
Wyoming Child Support Program
The Wyoming Child Support Program is committed to getting support to our families. While our physical child support offices are closed to customers and visitors during this time, services will continue to be provided .
The State Disbursement Unit, which is responsible for processing child support payments is fully functional and is currently open to the public. We do not anticipate a delay in processing payments received due to the Covid-19.
For more information regarding the Wyoming Child Support Program, please visit our website at child support.wyo.gov. Look for the “Stay Covid-19!” box for the most up-to-date information.
Can I Purchase Groceries Online with my SNAP EBT Card?
Wyoming Boy’s/Girl’s Schools:
While the Wyoming Boys’ and Girls’ Schools have always placed a premium on the health and safety of their residents and staff, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, both institutions have implemented a series of new protocols designed to maximize the protection of the health and safety of all individuals at the institutions. The facilities are focusing on increased hygiene and disinfection practices, conducting thorough medical screening processes of all incoming residents, screening of all staff prior to each shift, restrictions on non-essential visitors to campus, and screening of all essential visitors upon arrival on campus. We are strongly encouraging all persons wishing to visit one of the facilities to consider engaging in video conferencing visits and/or increased phone contacts with the students in lieu of in-person visits, in an attempt to follow CDC guidelines on social isolating and to protect the health of all involved.
Updates from the Social Services Division (Child and Adult Protection, Foster Care and Juvenile Probation)
As I’m sure you are aware, there have been process changes within local field offices statewide in response to COVID-19.
Face – To – Face Visits – Pursuant to flexibilities provided by recent federal policy change, our field staff now have discretion to conduct visits with children, foster families and biological families through mechanisms other than in person visits. These decisions are being made on a case by case basis, and in consultation with supervisors and managers based on assessed safety risk and need.
Parental Visitation – To the maximum extent possible, these visits are still being done in person. We understand the importance of preserving relationships between children and their families. With additional health screening processes in place, we’re doing our absolute best to preserve these face to face interactions. In the event of a health concern or heightened risk, there are some visits happening through other means. There is no agency-wide recommendation or prohibition against in person visits if they can be done safely and in accordance with the recommendations of the Dept. of Health and the Governor.
MDTs and Family Team Meetings – DFS’ enterprise Google platform has been confirmed to be a HIPAA compliant method of video and conferencing support. DFS also has limited ZOOM access in some areas. Our ZOOM licenses, as with Google, provide access to HIPAA compliant tele- and video-conferencing. Our local staff are happy to facilitate these processes through our platforms whenever necessary. Most MDT meetings and family team meetings have moved to video-conferencing platforms.
Courts – Court process changes vary from district to district. Most are facilitating shelter care hearings and other required hearings by phone or video.
Foster Home Certification/Recertification – With limited access to fingerprinting in some areas of the state, we have developed contingency plans for certifying and recertifying foster homes. Right now, they are an invaluable resource that’s absolutely necessary to support our families. As of now, our network is stable and if anything, we’ve seen requests to become foster homes increase in some areas of the state.
Emergency Placement & Staffing Plans – This week has been focused on developing emergency foster care placement and staffing plans. We expect upcoming needs for placement of potentially sick or exposed children in to foster care. We’re working to identify capacity within our current network to support children through a potential quarantine or care for a sick child. We’re optimistic by what I’ve seen so far, and have been absolutely overwhelmed by the support of our current provider network. We also have plans underway for emergency staffing, knowing that the potential of staff shortages in the near future are very real.
Field Office Access – With the exception of the Powell Office and the Rawlins Office (co-located in buildings that were closed by the county), all of our DFS Field Offices are staffed and open to the public. Even with the buildings locked, staff continue to report to both the Powell and Rawlins Offices as well. There has been signage posted with contact information for anyone needing assistance.
To read Director Schmidt’s memo to all Wyoming Foster Parents dated March 16, 2020, please click here.
The Department has been compiling questions from child care providers related to the requirements in the new Order. Below is links of attached PDFs of a Child Care Provider FAQ: Public Health Orders, Reopening and Expanding Services developed in consultation with the Wyoming Department of Health. And attached is a guide for Reimagining Child Care and Education After COVID-19, developed by the Wyoming Early Childhood Professional Learning Collaborative.
Attention Child Care Providers:
The Department of Family Services (DFS) would like to provide some clarification regarding the Child Care memo that was sent this morning (Friday, March 20, 2020). The memo was developed prior to the Governor’s recent public health announcement which included the closure of all child care programs unless providing care/services to children of essential employees. For those programs that are serving children of essential employees, the information in the memo is relevant in regards to using precautions and sanitary practices.
If you have questions about your operating status, please contact your local county health officer.
Below is a link to all public health offices in Wyoming.https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/nursing/phn-co-offices/
- Social distancing;
- Child pick up and drop off procedures;
- Cleaning and disinfecting of toys and bedding;
- Safely caring for infants and toddlers; and
- Food preparation and meal service
We appreciate your patience with us as things are changing rapidly. Please click here to read the entire Memo from Director Schmidt to Wyoming Child Care Professionals dated March 13, 2020 concerning the current coronavirus — COVID-19 situation.
Substitute Care Licensing Changes
Please note that DFS will investigate any reports of abuse made to social services and reports to licensing of allegations of non-compliance where child safety is a concern. The following will represent some current changes to the substitute care protocol during the COVID-19 crisis:
- We are not conducting any unannounced visits
- We are moving investigations and monitoring to telephone or video if possible
- We are working with individual providers as renewal dates approach to issue provisional licenses.
- Per regular protocol, we are reviewing variance requests to current rules. If you have created a potential plan for a shortage in staffing or other issues that put you at risk of violating licensure rules, please contact us to determine what variances will be necessary. We will work with you on a provider by provider basis and there will be some safety rules that we may not waive
Substitute Worker Availability For child care centers in need of substitute workers, please click here for a list of available substitute workers. This site is password-protected and only accessible by licensed child care centers.
See Essential Personnel Childcare page find licensed child care centers serving essential personnel.
Additional COVID-19 Resources:
Visit the State of Wyoming’s COVID-19 website
CDC COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions