The story at a glance
- For nearly three years, households have been receiving an additional $95 or more on top of their normal SNAP allowance.
- In 2021, more than 41 million Americans used SNAP benefits to help buy food.
- Additional SNAP funds expire.
OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — Emergency benefits that helped boost payments to SNAP recipients during the COVID-19 pandemic are set to end soon, leaving families with less money and high grocery prices.
SNAP, which stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, used to be called the Food Stamp Program. For nearly three years, households have been receiving at least an additional $95 on top of their normal allowance.
In 17 states, these additional emergency benefits have already expired in January 2023. These states are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. , Tennessee, and Wyoming, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service.
In one state, South Carolina, the emergency allowance will expire after the January 2023 payments are issued.
In the remaining 32 states, plus Washington, DC, Guam and the US Virgin Islands, the extra money will dry up starting with the March 2023 benefit month, according to the FNS.
Oklahoma is one of the states where additional benefits are due to expire.
“The agency knows that these additional benefits have been essential in meeting the needs of Oklahomans during these difficult times,” said Deb Smith, director of adult and family services.
Oklahoma state officials have said people should plan to return to their pre-pandemic SNAP benefits beginning March 1.
“We know that these increased benefits have been important to so many Oklahomans over the past three years and that this change will have a greater impact on some SNAP users than others, especially our elderly and disabled neighbors,” said Chris Bernard, president and CEO of Hunger Free. Oklahoma. “Undoubtedly, this will create an increased demand for our charities across the state and an increased need for Oklahomans to support their local pantries and food banks.”
In 2021, more than 41 million Americans used SNAP benefits to help buy food.
Households that also receive Social Security payments may see their SNAP benefits decrease by even more than $95. This is because as the Social Security cost of living adjustment for 2023 goes into effect, it increases the incomes of these households and may reduce the amount of SNAP assistance they are eligible for.
The FNS estimates that nearly half of SNAP households also receive Social Security, and most will see a change in their SNAP benefits as a result of the 8.7% increase in Social Security. “However, all affected households will experience a net gain, as the adjustment increases Social Security benefits more than it decreases SNAP benefits,” the agency said.