MDHS COVID-19 updates
The Division of Economic Assistance Eligibility has reopened the offices (July 1, 2021) to the public for applicants and recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The Division of Economic Assistance Eligibility is also encouraging social distancing in addition to the new procedures described below to help protect applicants and recipients of SNAP and TANF and our staff from the exposure to and/or the threat of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Any clients given a face-to-face interview that would prefer an interview over the telephone should contact the office on the appointment notice.
The Division of Economic Assistance Eligibility continues to suggest that clients submit applications and any requested proof of verification online. Applications may be submitted online at https://www.access.ms.gov/. Any proof of verification requested can be uploaded (you may use your phone to take a picture to submit) by clicking on https://ea-upload.mdhs.ms.gov/. SNAP and TANF forms you may need can be found at https://www.mdhs.ms.gov/economic-assistance/.
New Office Procedures
All visitors and clients two years of age and older, must wear a cloth or surgical-type facemask while visiting any MDHS facility. Face masks must cover the nose and mouth.
All employees, clients, and visitors in MDHS county offices will undergo a wellness screening upon entry into the office, including a set of screening questions and a temperature check. Six-foot distancing should be practiced between those waiting to be screened. Both the screener and the employee/visitor must be masked during the screening process.
The wellness screener will ask the following questions:
- Have you experienced any symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours?
- In the last two weeks, did you have close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19?
Clients and visitors who are symptomatic will not be allowed to enter the facility and will be provided with a telephone interview. Clients and visitors who are not symptomatic but have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past two weeks will be allowed to enter the facility but must be masked and maintain a distance of six feet from others at all times.
Child Support Enforcement Updates
Our local offices have reopened to the public. However, due to concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, you are encouraged to contact us by telephone at 1-877-882-4916, or submit a request through Gen on our website at www.mdhs.ms.gov/child-support. If you must come to our office, please wear a mask and if possible, do not bring anyone who is not involved in your child support case with you. We want you to be as safe as possible. If you answer “yes” to any of the below questions do not come into a child support office, but contact us on how to best proceed on your case.
1. Have you been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19?
2. Are you experiencing a cough, shortness of breath or sore throat?
3. Have you had a fever of 100.0°F or higher in the last 48 hours?
4. Have you had new loss of taste or smell?
5. Have you had vomiting or diarrhea in the last 24 hours?
6. Do you have any other unusual symptoms or complaints?
Early Childhood Care and Development Updates
MDHS is releasing an application for financial assistance to providers who are open and providing care for children. A one-time payment will be given to CCPP approved providers with active certificates as of August 1, 2020. Amounts will be based on the type of care provided and the care capacity in the provider profile in CCPS as of August 1, 2020. Care capacity is defined as the total number of children a provider is allowed to care for per MS State Department of Health. Providers offering multiple shifts of care will receive double the rate for capacity. Providers offering ONLY part time care will receive half of the rate for capacity.
CCPP approved providers with active certificates as of August 1, 2020, both licensed and registered, who meet the conditions described below. CCPP approved providers with 501(c)(3) status are eligible to apply.
CARES Application Window:
*Any eligible provider who is open during the application window may apply.
Allowable Uses of Funding:
These funds are issued to support providers in meeting the demands of responding to COVID-19. The following is a list of allowable uses of this funding:
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Hazard pay for staff
Health and safety supplies
Food and food supplies for enrolled children
Replenishing classroom consumable supplies or furniture necessary to respond to COVID-19
To apply for funding: https://app.smartsheet.com/b/form/39b27540d81142d89bcce7338d84fceb
Recipients of this funding will need to maintain records of the application process as well as how funds were expended.
To view full details related to this funding opportunity, click HERE
The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has become a source of great concern for everyone, especially those that serve children and families. MDHS is taking this rapidly changing situation seriously and will continue to provide updates as timely as possible. Here are the most recent developments, as well as some guidance and resources that are available during this time.
In response to the pandemic, temporary policies were developed to sustain childcare in Mississippi and to serve a priority population of essential personnel through the issuance of emergency certificates. These policies are specific to COVID-19 and do not amend the Child Care Payment Program Policy Manual. On April 30, 2020 MDHS filed temporary policies with Secretary of State to strengthen emergency operations of the Child Care Payment Program. These policies are effective immediately through the emergency filing process. A copy of these policies may be viewed here.
Child Care Provider Supports
On May 4, 2020 MDHS notified all Mississippi licensed and registered child care providers of an opportunity to request health and safety supplies at no cost. Protecting the health and safety of staff and children during this time can be difficult since health and cleaning supplies are in short supply. MDHS and the Early Childhood Academy have been hard at work building a supply of items for monitoring the health of staff and children as well as supplies for cleaning child care environments. Due to the scarcity of health and safety items, the quantity of supplies available through this offer is limited. Available supplies will be issued to open childcare providers at no cost on a first-come, first-served basis with priority given to providers in counties with the highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 and temporary emergency CCAIR sites, while supplies last. The window to request supplies will be May 6 – 8, 2020. In order to be eligible to request supplies, providers must:
- Hold a license or registration with the Mississippi Department of Health Bureau of Child Care Licensure on or before May 11, 2020,
- Be open and providing child care services as of May 11, 2020,
- Complete the Childcare Crisis Assistance in Isolation Response Orientation Training, and
- Complete the online request form, including the upload of CCAIR orientation training certificate, between May 6-8, 2020.
A copy of the notice sent to child care providers can be viewed HERE.
Child Care Payments/Certificate Program
Our office is working with the Office of Child Care to determine what options are available for the use of CCDF funding during this emergency. An emergency waiver is being submitted to address situations such as interruption of services due to child care center closures and excessive absences as families begin to keep children at home. The waiver also includes a request that child care payments be made to providers based on enrollment instead of attendance. If the waiver is approved, our office will notify all providers as soon as possible.
Child Care Licensure
MDHS is in contact with the administration at the Mississippi State Department of Health. As of now, the Health Department is not recommending the closure of child care programs. The Health Department is recommending that child care centers follow the same CDC guidelines included below. If at any time, Child Care Licensure does recommend closure, MDHS will notify providers as soon as possible. Our office recommends keeping open communication with your licensing official regarding any decisions that the Health Department may make. If you decide to voluntarily close your center, please send an email to tell us you are closing at firstname.lastname@example.org.
COVID-19 Information & Recommendations
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has a list of guidelines that child care centers can use. Please bookmark this link. The CDC continues to update this link as more information becomes available.
This link includes information about:
Disinfecting and protecting against COVID-19 spread and infection
Guidelines for excluding any potentially ill children and/or staff members and how to create an absentee policy
How to communicate with families and communities about COVID-19
What to do if there has been a case of COVID in your area
Community Services Update
As of now, Community Services expects to continue its services if at all possible.
The Public Service Commission has temporarily suspended disconnections from water, sewer, electricity, and gas services under its jurisdiction for 60 days, including Entergy and Atmos Gas, but please continue to pay utilities during this time.
To the extent possible, telephone interviews and telephone case management will be used to reduce or eliminate all traffic in our offices.
Appointments for elderly and disabled clients who have been served online may be cancelled and case workers may contact them by phone for interview since in most cases their income and household size has not changed. The current bill must be provided. These cases can be updated by case worker online and services will be provided. If their income has changed, the client can provide a copy of their pay stub by mail or digitally to https://www.mdhs.ms.gov/contact/.
For all other appointments to include new clients and existing clients with earned income:
If a plan is submitted for telephone interview and approved, clients can submit eligibility information such as income, by mail, email, or digitally to the link above.
MDHS is waiving the requirement for Social Security cards during this time until further notice. However, the social security numbers must be provided during the application process.
Community Action Agency Status:
DCS Subgrantee Office Status:
Central MS- open
Coahoma- open Tuesday and Thursday
Hinds- Lobby Closed, please call for help
Jackson County- closed
LIFT- open until end of this week
Madison Co.- open
Multi-Co.- Lobby Closed, please call for help
Northeast MS- open
PRVO-Lobby Closed, please call for help
Rankin Co.- Lobby Closed, please call for help
Southwest MS- closed
South Central- open
Aging and Adult Services
Home Delivered Meals
The Home Delivered Meals, a program where meals are provided to eligible homebound persons in their homes, will continue uninterrupted. Every effort will be made to limit exposure to those who the meals are being delivered. In addition, congregate feeding sites, where senior citizens gather and eat in groups, have been suspended eight weeks due to virus concerns and those meals will be converted to shelf stable food and frozen food which will allow us to provide more food for citizens at their homes.
The APS Call Center will also screen reports for possible contact with Coronavirus.
Find your local county office contact information