Blog Posts > What You Need to Know About Accessing the Safety Net During COVID-19
April 10, 2020

What You Need to Know About Accessing the Safety Net During COVID-19

We are tracking policy changes and flexibilities that impact the ability of West Virginians to utilize the safety net during the COVID-19 crisis. Kelly and Seth’s blog post highlights changes to Medicaid, SNAP (food stamps) and TANF, as well as additional flexibilities in state and federal law that West Virginia should utilize to improve access to these important safety net resources.

Read their blog post here on what you need to know about Medicaid, SNAP, and TANF benefits during these uncertain times. 

Who Are West Virginia’s Frontline Workers?

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 186,000 workers in West Virginia were employed in six broad industries that are now considered the frontlines of the response. Nurses, janitors, grocery clerks, child care staff, bus and truck drivers, these are the essential workers in our state and our economy, and the current crisis has done little to change that. Instead it has shown just how vital these workers are.

More than 66 percent of all frontline workers in West Virginia are women, including 83 percent in the social services and 78 percent in health care.

People of color are also over represented in West Virginia’s frontline industries, particularly in the building cleaning, health care, and social services industries.

Read more in Sean’s blog post

Making the Most of Federal Assistance

Food For All is a broad and diverse coalition of individuals and organizations across West Virginia who believe no West Virginian should ever go without access to adequate, nutritious food. Here is a letter we sent to Governor Jim Justice with recommendations on how to maximize the federal food assistance dollars coming to the state as part of the COVID-19 relief package.

In Case You Missed It!

Miss us? You can see us on Facebook Live! 

Yesterday, Kelly and Seth hosted a discussion on the safety net and how COVID-19 is impacting Medicaid, TANF, and SNAP benefits.

Last Friday, Sean and Kelly talked about navigating West Virginia’s unemployment program and how federal benefits will impact it.

Here is more from Sean about West Virginia’s unemployment claims, how the state is responding, and what those waiting for benefits can expect in articles from the Ohio Valley Resource and the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Stay Informed!

For a complete list of our COVID-19 resources, please visit our special website page.


WV Food ER

WV Food ER is raising funds to help our neighbors around the state. If you can spare a couple of dollars, please consider donating. The project has delivered food and needed items to West Virginia families for the past few weeks all over West Virginia thanks to some amazing volunteers and neighbors. You can donate and learn more here

We Are Hiring!

The West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy is currently seeking an operations and communications manager. The operations and communications manager is responsible for a variety of duties including special event planning, communications, and office management. This position supports work that advances public policies that improve the quality of life for all West Virginians and includes media relations, public campaigns, publication design, and website and database management. Interested candidates are encouraged to forward their resumes to

This position has the flexibility to be part or full time depending on the applicant and the WVCBP’s needs. The WVCBP is an equal opportunity employer. We encourage applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, or national origin.

Read full job announcement here.


Deadline Extended to May 15: 2020 Summer Policy Institute

Registration is open for this year’s Summer Policy Institute! Join us at Fairmont State University this July for a great weekend of policy discussion and networking!

Note: We are closely monitoring public health best practices around COVID 19. For now, we plan to host the Summer Policy Institute in-person in July, so please do register if you are interested in attending. As the situation develops and evolves, we will keep you posted and reevaluate, if needed.

Register here

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