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SC AARP asks Gov. McMaster to reconsider lifting COVID-19 state of emergency

A spokesman for South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster says a teacher rally to call for education reform on a school day sends the wrong message. (WACH)
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster. (WACH)

AARP South Carolina state director, Teresa Arnold, released a statement asking Gov. Henry McMaster to reconsider lifting his state of emergency declaration because of the harm it will do to those still suffering from the economic impact of the pandemic.

Arnold's statement said lifting the state of emergency would cause the state to lose more than $52 million a month in federal funds allocated for SNAP benefits, which help over 300,000 households.

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Here full statement said:

AARP South Carolina is concerned about Governor McMaster’s decision to lift the COVID-19 state of emergency order that has been in place since March 2020. Lifting the emergency order also removes emergency SNAP benefits for over 300,000 South Carolinian households still suffering from the economic impact of the pandemic. South Carolina will lose over $52 million a month in federal funds allocated for SNAP benefits and typical older recipients will lose significant benefits leaving them with about $4 a day per household to help meet their essential nutritional needs. This decision could have a devastating health and economic impact on older low-income South Carolinians, who account for about 44% of households receiving SNAP. Many of these folks already routinely have to decide whether to pay for food or overpriced prescription drugs. We ask that Governor McMaster please reconsider his decision.

ABC15 reached out to the Governor's Office for comment on AARP's claims.

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The Communications Director, Brian Symmes, sent back the following statement:

The governor’s decision to end the state of emergency was thoughtfully considered and discussed among all state agencies that have had a role in the state’s response to the pandemic.
Like federal unemployment benefits the additional, emergency SNAP benefit program was never meant to be a permanent fixture. The governor is confident that the normal, pre-pandemic SNAP program is the best way to move forward for South Carolina.