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Biden expands food assistance, unemployment programs during coronavirus pandemic

Posted at 5:52 AM, Jan 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-23 12:22:02-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — President Joe Biden signed executive orders Friday expanding access to supplemental food assistance and unemployment insurance programs in an attempt to support people affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

30 million Americans struggle with food insecurity according to U.S. Census data.

The nonprofit Feeding America says one in eight Nevadans struggle with hunger and one in five children in Nevada have issues finding enough to eat each day.

"We cannot, will not let people go hungry," Biden said during his Friday press conference.

"We cannot let people be evicted because of nothing they did themselves," he said. "We cannot watch people lose their jobs. We have to act."

The executive orders direct the U.S. Department of Agriculture to increase Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits by 15%, enhances Pandemic EBT benefits for children who would qualify for free or reduced lunches at school and changes the formula for determining need among recipients.

Biden said the move came as part of a comprehensive assistance plan during the pandemic.

"We're in a national emergency," said Biden. "We need to act like we're in a national emergency."

"We've gotta move, with everything we've got. And we've got to do it together."

Biden also expanded eligibility for people receiving unemployment benefits.

The executive order allows people to turn down a job offer without losing benefits if they fear for their health in accepting the position.