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Montezuma County Social Services Reports Spike In Assistance During COVID-19 Impacts

Austin Cope
KSJD File Photo

The start of the COVID-19 pandemic correlated with a spike in federal food and cash assistance distributed by the Montezuma County Department of Social Services. 

The department’s spending for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known also as food stamps, more than doubled between March and April, from $503,620.22 in March to $1,081,772.92. Spending decreased to $850,708.64 in May, but Gina Montoya, director of social services, says amounts for SNAP and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families programs could change significantly if there is another outbreak of COVID-19.

The TANF cash payments program increased by about 16% between March and May. Montoya says that number is continuing to rise, and she expects the trend to continue if jobs and unemployment benefits are not available.

The county’s nonseasonally adjusted unemployment rate for April was 11.9%, slightly below the state’s average rate of 12.2%, and more than double February's rate of 5.6%.