Kokua Line: What number of Hawaiians have meals stamps?

Qquestion: That last unofficial shutdown was brutal for some of us. The governor told the tourists not to come close to the end of the plus-up. This is my first time applying for food tickets. It’s easy to count COVID-19 tests, but what about everything else?

answers: Many readers have similar concerns, sometimes from conflicting points of view. Kokua Line has heard from people like you who were hoping to work full-time now, but those hopes faded after Governor David Ige told visitors to stay home in late August amid Hawaii’s delta surge; Federal unemployment benefits, including the “plus-up” of $ 300 a week, expired in the first week of September. We have also heard from readers concerned that the government’s focus on COVID-19 case numbers is obscuring other statistics that are considered more alarming by readers, including the number of Hawaiian residents in need of tax-funded aid from food to rent and health insurance.

To answer your basic question, yes, government agencies track the use and cost of benefits such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Grocery Brands; Medicaid Health Insurance for the Needy; and unemployment benefits. These and more are part of what you call “everything else”.

To take a few examples, Hawaii had 189,956 total SNAP receivers in September, according to the State Department of Human Services, down from the pandemic-era high of 206,226 in July 2021, but above a total of 152,252 pre-February pandemic 2020.

In 2019, before Hawaii’s economy was curtailed during the pandemic, an average of about $ 37 million was paid in SNAP benefits per month. Since March 2020, the monthly average has risen to $ 79 million, according to a June press release from the department.

Regarding Medicaid, the department’s website states that on July 16, an “unprecedented” 427,839 people in Hawaii received their health coverage through Med-QUEST / Medicaid, a 31% increase from pre-pandemic times. The total makes up 30% of the total Hawaiian population and 50% of the children, it said.

The Hawaiian Department of Labor and Industrial Relations announced that nearly $ 6.5 billion in unemployment benefits were paid from March 1, 2020 to October 7, 2021, the vast majority of it through state unemployment programs that expired in the first week of September , including the pluses mentioned above by you. Only about $ 1.9 billion of the total went through the state’s regular unemployment insurance program, funded by employer taxes and the only unemployment benefit program that processes new claims. About $ 4.6 billion came from the federal programs, which have now expired.

For other benefits you may be entitled to, Honolulu County has Rental Aid and Tenant Utility Aid; The application portal is open according to the website oneoahu.org.

Q: My driver’s license expires while I’m on a long trip to the mainland. I am a senior with a 2 year renewable license. How far in advance can I request an extension and how long will it take to receive it after my visit to extend it?

A: You can renew as early as six months before the expiration date, and it should take six to eight weeks to receive your perpetual license in the mail, the city said; You should leave your appointment with a temporary license in hand. Regardless of when you renew before the expiration date, you keep the same expiration date plus two years. You don’t waste time with the license by renewing it at the first opportunity. Make an extension appointment at AlohaQ.org.

Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; Fax 529-4750; or send an email to [email protected]

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