Extra SNAP benefits are ending today, but there's ways you can alleviate the impact

Key Points:

  • The additional SNAP benefits that were provided during the pandemic will no longer be available as of this week.
  • This is particularly unfortunate given the persistent problem of high inflation.
  • There are several measures you can take to alleviate the impact of this reduction in food funds.

Millions of Americans will be forced to find alternative ways to pay for food as the pandemic-era boosts to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits all expire this week.

This comes at a time when inflation remains high and grocery prices have increased by 11.3% in January alone, leaving people with even fewer dollars to spend on necessities.

While Congress had passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to temporarily boost SNAP benefits to help low-income families during the pandemic, these extra benefits will now come to an end. Every SNAP household will see at least $95 a month less, and some will see reductions of $250 a month or more, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Seniors may be particularly vulnerable to this change, with some already experiencing a reduction in SNAP benefits due to an 8.7% cost of living adjustment (COLA) in January. Additionally, social security counts toward income, which affects benefit calculations. 

In light of this news, here are other programs too worth exploring: 


Summer kids meals

Last December, Congress allocated $40 million to fund a program to give families of about 30 million children up to age 18 $40 per child a month to spend on groceries using electronic benefit transfer, or EBT, cards or up to 10 meals at a time to eat at home during the summer when children aren’t in school. 

Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, or WIC

An underutilized program, WIC can supplement the food budget of low-income pregnant women or women with children up to age 5. If you receive SNAP, you automatically qualify. 

Double Up Food Bucks

Twenty-five states have farmers markets or grocery stores that’ll double the value of your SNAP benefits on qualifying purchases. 

People are advised to check their eligibility for SNAP and these alternative programs, including Double Up Food Bucks, senior meal programs. Folks are also highly encouraged to contact their representative in Congress to advocate for their needs. 

See if you are eligible for SNAP benefits here

Additinallly, you can food pantry near you. As the end of extra SNAP benefits approaches, food banks are also preparing for increased demand. For this, folks can try the nonprofit Food Finders website

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