States work to assist food stamp recipients with lower benefits. The red backdrop with white text is plain. Critical information: After February, SNAP emergency allocations expire.
The most significant anti-hunger program in the country, SNAP, which was formerly known as food stamps, served 38 million individuals in the entire country in 2019. In these fact sheets, information is provided on who participates in the SNAP program, the benefits they receive, and how SNAP helps the economy in each state.
Participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, who haven’t already lost their pandemic-related benefits in March, will do so in every state. Authorities, neighborhood organizations, and food banks are scurrying to assist households in coping with and preparing for an anticipated wave of food difficulties.
If there’s any question, the Colorado Department of Human Services’ SNAP webpage adds, “All Coloradans who receive SNAP benefits will see a drop in their monthly benefit amount after February.”
People are frightened. They are worried. This is a terrible development, Karla Maraccini, director of the Colorado Department of Human Services‘ Food and Energy Assistance Division, told Stateline. “We want to make sure that no one gets surprised in March.”
The state of Colorado has a new, toll-free SNAP phone number, and its SNAP website offers transitional advice as well as a Food Finder link to find the nearest food bank.
According to an estimate by the left-leaning research tank Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the average SNAP recipient in states with emergency allotments as of February will get $90 less in payments per month.
We claim that these households face a hunger cliff, meaning they will experience more suffering and food insecurity. Individuals don’t have a safety net, said Ellen Vollinger, director of SNAP at the Food Research and Action Center, a group that campaigns against hunger, in an interview with Stateline.
In March 2020, when COVID-19 ravaged the country and the economy collapsed, Congress granted states the right to relax SNAP application and qualifying rules and to raise payments with temporary emergency allotments.
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The allotments were supposed to last as long as the federal public health emergency persisted in the states that had also issued a public health emergency declaration. But in December, Congress approved a bipartisan federal spending plan that eliminated SNAP allotments as of February 2023.
By the end of the previous year, 17 states had revoked their state public health emergency designation, which meant SNAP participants in those areas were no longer eligible for additional benefits.
Further SNAP modifications that reduce some benefits will take effect when the federal public health emergency ends on May 11, as was recently scheduled. Additionally, Republicans in Congress are looking at SNAP for possible cuts during the debt limit discussion. Every SNAP benefit is funded by the federal government.
A permanent Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer for Children food service program was also established as part of the spending package that ended the allotments early. Beginning in 2024, families who qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches will receive a monthly grocery benefit of $40 per kid during the summer months.
The Summer EBT program is “the most substantial new statewide nutrition effort in the last 50 years,” according to Vince Hall, chief government relations officer of Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic anti-hunger network. Notwithstanding its significance, he noted, it cannot take the place of meeting the nutritional needs of the entire family.
SNAP payments were used to buy food by more than 41 million people in 2018, up from nearly 36 million in 2019, and the emergency allotments constituted a sizable infusion of federal dollars to the states.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, in recent months, the states where the allotments were still in place received over $3 billion extra in benefits per month.
Director of SNAP State Strategy at the center Ed Bolen stated, “I’m not aware of any state trying to replace the emergency allotments.
As state legislatures wrap up their sessions and begin to draft their budgets for the upcoming fiscal year, some states are preparing to soften the effects of reduced benefits. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that New Jersey is the only state to have passed SNAP legislation thus far this year.
The minimum SNAP payout for each month has increased twice in the Garden State, from $50 to $95 last year and this year. Even with increases in 2021 and 2022, the average state’s regular minimum SNAP payout is $23 per month.
According to Carlos Rodriguez, president and chief executive officer of the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, the new minimum benefit in New Jersey would mostly benefit seniors and persons with disabilities whose wages have increased as a result of cost-of-living increases in Social Security. SNAP benefits are reduced as income rises.
His group, which provided food for more than 86 million meals last year, is getting ready for greater demand by purchasing more food at higher prices due to inflation.
In a household survey conducted in December by Propel, a business that produces software that SNAP recipients use to track their benefits and other financial products, it was discovered that 30% of respondents had visited a food pantry in the previous 30 days in states where emergency allotments were no longer being distributed, as opposed to 22% of respondents in states where emergency allotments were still being distributed.
According to the conference of state legislatures, legislators have so far sponsored at least 131 proposals in 27 states and the District of Columbia to strengthen SNAP by increasing program accessibility, lowering food and nutrition-related expenses, and providing emergency food relief.
By January 2025, a bill proposed on February 15 in California would make the state minimum benefit for the CalFresh program $50. California’s SNAP program is called CalFresh.
Maryland increased the minimum SNAP payment for adults 62 and older to $40 per month last year. According to the conference of state legislatures, it was one of a dozen states that passed 24 measures intended to improve or expand SNAP.
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More than 630,000 Massachusetts families would receive an additional allowance for three months that was equal to 40% of the federal benefit, according to a plan put forth by Massachusetts Democratic Governor Maura Healey in January. The bridge would cost $130 million.
States are advising people to seek assistance in figuring out the benefits for which they are eligible because there are a plethora of state and federal safety-net programs, frequently with varying eligibility requirements.
North Carolina promotes participation in the Women, Infants, and Children meal program among mothers and expectant women. Also, North Carolinians have access to the statewide NCCare360 network, which links them to social services, career opportunities, housing, and health care.
In conclusion: They “will have less money to spend at the grocery store,” said Effie Rorke, senior director of public affairs and communications at Feeding Colorado, the state organization for Colorado’s five food banks. The 800 volunteers at the Food Bank of the Rockies provide assistance to around 500,000 people each year over a substantial portion of Wyoming and Colorado.