The pandemic boost to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will expire at the end of February for tens of millions of Americans in 32 states.
Even though inflation remains near 40-year highs, this means less money to spend on food each month.
During the COVID-19 crisis, when millions of people lost their jobs, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act in 2020, which temporarily increased SNAP benefits, formerly known as food stamps, to assist low-income families.
The extra allocations were supposed to run out when the pandemic ended. President Joe Biden is expected to declare the pandemic over in May, and Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act to end the extra allotments.
Will the SNAP supplement be phased out in all states?
According to the US Department of Agriculture, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wyoming have already stopped issuing pandemic-era SNAP emergency allotments (USDA).
The extra SNAP funds will be discontinued in March for recipients in the remaining 32 states, as well as Washington, D.C., Guam, and the US Virgin Islands.
How much will SNAP beneficiaries lose?
According to the nonpartisan research and policy institute Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, every SNAP household will see at least a $95 monthly reduction, but some will see reductions of $250 or more.
According to the report, the average person will receive about $90 less in SNAP benefits per month.
However, with high inflation, particularly for food, the loss may feel even worse.
“We’re trying to spread the word so people know SNAP participants will see a reduction and it will return to what it was before the pandemic,” said Man-Yee Lee, a spokesperson for the Greater Chicago Food Depository, which supplies hundreds of food pantries. “That makes sense, except food prices are so high right now.”
Who is going to be affected?
SNAP benefits are received by approximately 42 million Americans. Some have already been impacted by previous expirations, but others may be affected in this round. This time, the expirations cover 32 states, including some of the most populous, such as California, Illinois, and Texas.
Some seniors may feel hit twice. Some seniors have already seen their SNAP benefits decrease after receiving an 8.7% cost-of-living adjustment in January, the largest since 1981. This is due to the fact that benefits are calculated based on factors such as income, specific expenses, and the number of people in your household. Social Security is considered income.