Which states are giving extra SNAP benefits in February?
Recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program support, also known as food stamps, will soon revert to pre-pandemic payment terms.
In the early days of the pandemic the federal government altered the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) to boost the benefits going out to low-income households.
SNAP benefits, also known as food stamps, became a crucial form of financial support for millions of families. The federal government introduced Emergency Allotments (EA) to increase the amount on offer to recipients.
The program has gradually been rolled back in the past year and February 2023 will be the final month in which recipients in certain states, those still offering the boost, can benefit from the EA. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) reports that 35 states and territories are still paying EAs this month, but that additional support will end in March.
Those 35 states and territories are:
Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Guam, , Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, US Virgin Islands, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Once recipients in these areas have received their EA-boosted SNAP payment for February, the payments will revert to their normal, pre-pandemic size from March onwards.
How much lower will my SNAP benefits be after March?
EA has ensured that all SNAP recipients have enjoyed increased benefits payments throughout the duration of the pandemic but that comes to an end this month. The EA SNAP benefits were worth a considerable amount to eligible households.
The CBPP estimates that every household enrolled in SNAP benefits will receive at least $95 a month less once the EA expires. However some households, those with slightly higher typical income levels, could see their entitlement fall by more than $250 per month.
On an individual basis, the average benefits per person is expected to fall by $90 a month, a huge loss for low-income households.
The program’s expansion in March 2020 was designed to insulate vulnerable groups and low earners from the economic consequences of the pandemic. One study found that EAs kept more than 4 million people above the poverty line in the last quarter of 2021 alone. The benefits of the program were particularly pronounced amongst children and childhood poverty fell by 14% during the same time period.
Everyone who is going to get a reduction in their SNAP entitlement should receive a letter in the mail this month to pre-warn them of the change. The letter will also outline the size of future SNAP payments, starting March 2023.