Photo: Jeff Bukowski (Shutterstock)
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—the federal initiative designed to help low-income Americans access more food—received a temporary boost in response to COVID-19 that is set to end on March 1. These pandemic-era SNAP benefits, known as emergency allotments (EA), are set to expire in 32 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Here’s what you need to know about the current state of SNAP benefits.
The end of pandemic-related SNAP benefits
As the U.S. Department of Agriculture explains, SNAP emergency allotments were a temporary strategy to help low-income homes deal with the pandemic. But with the passing of Congress’ $1.7 trillion omnibus package this year, all SNAP households’ benefits will return to normal amounts without the added supplement.
After 17 states already cut payments earlier this year, March 2023 will be the first month that all SNAP benefits will be at typical amounts nationwide. This means if you live in a state that has already ended emergency allotments, your benefits have already returned to normal amounts—you shouldn’t see another change from the recent law.
The end of pandemic-era EAs means every household will have their SNAP benefits cut by at least $90 to $95. (Households that receive lower benefits due to a higher income could see reductions of $250 a month or more.)
What does this look like for your day-to-day grocery costs? NBC reports that this equates to trimming the an average of around $9 per-person, per-day down to about $6.10. This change comes at a time when food prices are up 10% compared to this time last year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Just look at the price of eggs these days.)
Which states are about to shrink their SNAP benefits?
If you receive SNAP benefits in any of the following states, expect reductions as of March 1.
AlabamaArizonaCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelawareHawaiiIllinoisKansasLouisianaMaineMarylandMassachusettsMichiganNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaOhioOklahomaOregonPennsylvaniaRhode IslandTexasUtahVermontVirginiaWashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsin
SNAP eligibility is determined by a few factors, so check in with your state if you think you might qualify for the program or to check what your typical benefit amounts will now be. For more, check out some of the unexpected things you can buy with SNAP.