Food & Income Security

Headline:

Despite efforts by the Biden administration and manufacturers to alleviate the nationwide baby formula shortage, formula is likely to remain hard to find until at least mid-July.

Last-reviewed: 9am, June 23, 2022

Key Resources:

The Basics

  • The USDA will provide universal free lunch through the end of the 2021-2022 school year and P-EBT to eligible families during the summer.
  • Meals on Wheels America is providing nutritional support to homebound seniors. Find a state/local nutrition program site.
  • Many Social Security offices are open for walk-in service. Check the status of a local office on the SSA website. Due to long in-person wait times, the SSA advises people to complete services online or by calling a local office whenever possible. 

The Breakdown

  • The US continues to import baby formula from overseas as the Biden-Harris administration works to alleviate the nationwide baby formula shortage. President Biden also authorized the Defense Production Act and signed bipartisan legislation to improve access to baby formula for families who receive WIC.
  • On May 13, the White House issued a fact sheet regarding the administration’s steps to address the infant formula shortage affecting families nationwide. WIC program participants can contact their state or local WIC agency with questions about infant formula benefits.
  • During the pandemic, free credit reports are available online weekly. For more information, visit www.annualcreditreport.com.
  • Individuals and families who did not receive the 2021 Economic Impact Payment (EIP) can request the payment when they file their 2021 taxes. Visit the IRS website for additional information.
  • Eligible households will receive the 2021 Child Tax Credit of $3,600 for every child under 6 or $3,000 for every child ages 6 to 17. Visit ChildTaxCredit.gov for additional information.
  • The IRS mailed two important letters to families who received the advance child tax credit and the economic impact payment. “Letter 6419, 2021 Advance Child Tax Credit (CTC)” will verify how much the household received in advance CTC payments in 2021 and the number of qualifying children used by the IRS to determine these payments. “Letter 6475, Your Third Economic Impact Payment (EIP)” will include information to help EIP recipients determine whether they should claim the recovery rebate credit on their 2021 tax returns.
  • Some taxpayers may qualify for free tax return preparation assistance through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) and AARP programs. Find locations on the IRS website. They may also qualify for free e-filing until October 17, 2022. Find information on the IRS website.
  • The Affordable Connectivity Program provides eligible households with a $30/month discount on internet services. Twenty leading internet providers are offering ACP-eligible households a high-speed internet plan for no more than $30/month. So eligible families can use their ACP benefit with one of these plans to receive high-speed internet at no cost.
  • Any household that receives WIC or whose income is below 200% FPL can apply for ACP benefits through their internet service provider. For additional information, visit the Common Sense guide or getinternet.gov.
  • Both local and national SSA phone lines have been experiencing technical difficulties. The best way to contact the SSA is through the online portal or a kiosk in a local office.
  • The SSA is prioritizing in-person appointments for people who are applying for a social security number and applicants who must go without necessities (e.g., food, shelter) until they get benefits.
  • SSA has re-issued two Emergency Messages (EMs), clarifying that pandemic-related financial assistance is excluded indefinitely from SSI counting. Read the EMs here and here.
  • State SNAP distributors must take away any benefits that have remained idle on SNAP EBT and P-EBT accounts for 9 months (274 days).
  • The USDA extended universal free school lunch to the end of the 2021-2022 school year. For information on a specific state’s implementation of this program, check that state’s department of education. In the event Congress does not act to renew funding for universal free school meals for the 2022-2023 school year, applications for free and reduced-price meals will be available on school district websites beginning July 1, 2022.
  • All school children who were eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals during the 2021-2022 school year will be eligible for P-EBT benefits during the summer. SNAP-enrolled children under 6 will only be eligible for P-EBT summer benefits while the federal COVID-19 public health emergency remains in place.
  • Schools are required to follow new nutritional standards set by the USDA. For additional information visit the USDA.
  • People can find updated dietary guidelines, shopping guides, and recipes at myplate.gov.

The Bottom Line

  • Sharing reliable, up-to-date information about the changing resource landscape with families is key to optimizing household income and increasing food stability.