Acting Secretary Val Arkoosh of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) informed Pennsylvanians of anticipated SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefit adjustments.
Beginning in March, households receiving SNAP benefits will no longer receive the Emergency Allotment (EA) additional payment made during the COVID-19 public health emergency due to the recent passage of the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 and will once again receive one SNAP payment each month.
All SNAP participants will experience this change, and households will receive letters informing them of the modification to SNAP benefits.
“We are aware that the additional SNAP payment has been a lifeline for many over the past three years and that high food prices and continued economic insecurity are factors leading to food insecurity for many Pennsylvanians.
The heroic humanitarian food partners in Pennsylvania can assist you and your family, according to Acting Secretary Val Arkoosh. “Now is the moment to support your local food assistance agencies as they prepare to meet this probably increased need,” I implore everybody who can donate food or resources.
DHS started sending EAs as a second monthly payment to SNAP recipient households that have been receiving benefits since March 2020 with money made available by the federal COVID-19 emergency.
The EAs upped the SNAP budget to the highest amount permitted for their household size or, starting in early 2021, a minimum of $95. These payments were made monthly in addition to the initial payment.
Due to federal legislation, this February will be the last month that EAs are given, and beginning in March, SNAP beneficiaries will only get one standard SNAP payment.
In addition, an 8.7% increase in SSI income was brought on by the federal government’s 2023 cost of living adjustment for Social Security Income (SSI), which is also established. The federally determined qualifying requirements for SNAP did not increase proportionately.
As a result, when EAs terminate in March, nearly 249,000 households will see a reduction in their base SNAP payments of an average of $40 per household.
Due to the SSI increase, we estimate that between 5,000 and 20,000 households will be dropped from the SNAP program. Seniors and older Pennsylvanians will be the main targets of these federal initiatives.
Pennsylvanians are encouraged to report any changes to their household size, income, or spending online at www.dhs.pa.gov/COMPASS, through the myCOMPASS PA mobile app, or by calling DHS’s Customer Service Center at 877-395-8930.
This will ensure that households receive the maximum SNAP benefit based on their unique circumstances.
DHS wants to ensure that families in need of food assistance are aware of where to turn for help since it is aware of the potential effects these changes may have on households:
- PA WIC may be able to assist SNAP clients who are expecting or have children under the age of five with food expenses.
- To connect with various local food resources, dial 211 or go to www.pa211.org;
- To locate nearby food banks and other food aid organizations, go to www.feedingpa.org;
- For details on aid programs and other resources, visit www.dhs.pa.gov/ending-hunger and www.agriculture.pa.gov/food security; and
- If you are a senior citizen who qualifies for SNAP, you can apply to get more vouchers that can be redeemed at more than 800 farm stands and more than 200 farmers’ markets throughout Pennsylvania. You may also receive more shelf-stable foodstuffs from the Senior Food Box Program.
“Our network of humanitarian food providers works sacrificially every day to serve as a resource and safety net for their neighborhoods.
They will probably be left to bear the majority of the effects of the impending drop in SNAP payments, according to Acting Secretary Arkoosh.
“If you are able to, please support your neighborhood food banks and pantries as they get ready to fill this need. Please give what you can so they can continue their life-saving work since even small contributions add up.
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