HSPAI Call on Public Health Emergency Unwinding


  • Matt Lyons, Senior Director of Policy and Practice at the American Public Human Services Association

Key Takeaways

PHE unwinding process represents many changes all coming together, that will have a cumulative effect on both agency operations and customer experience, including with SNAP, child care, Medicaid redeterminations, P-EBT, Rental Assistance, and budgetary liabilities

Human services workforce is in a specific bind:

  • Current economic landscape, paired with shifting labor preferences is contributing to high vacancies with unusually high turnover
  • Significant experience deficits, especially for key roles that are direct service facing and many staff have never operated under normal operating conditions (pre-pandemic)
  • Pervasive throughout human services fields but child welfare, mental, and juvenile justice agencies are reporting lion’s share of shortfall

Significant pain points coming up:

  • SNAP:
    • Emergency allotments (higher benefits) expiring in Feb and March
    • Temporary (suspended) work requirements will go back into effect in May
    • Wide variation and high error rates expected
  • Administrative:
    • Call centers, staffing, allowances across programmatic streams
    • Flexibility to Medicaid and child care
    • Phasing out of the increased FMAP will impact states’ ability to project work and caseload management
    • Medicaid renewal process may impact households as they navigate processes to establish eligibility and may prove challenging as expectations shift on show families can expect to interact with human services agencies

Questions To Consider As Next Steps

  • What’s coming next in my state to preserve the child care market/system in my state?
  • What programmatic and cross-agency collaboration needs to happen to build up new infrastructure to transition to new Summer EBT programs, as authorized by Congress in December 2022?
  • Where are there opportunities to align programs/agencies to create synergies and integrate systems to support a seamless journey for customers?