Millions Face “Hunger Cliff” as SNAP Benefits Cut in March
Millions of Americans enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are facing a “hunger cliff” in March, when emergency allotment benefits, which were provided throughout the pandemic, will be ending due to federal rules. This will result in a loss of $82 per person in SNAP benefits, according to the Food Research and Action Center, for a collective spending reduction of nearly $3 billion per month.
Eighteen states have already phased out the emergency food benefit allotments, citing the strengthening economy, while 32 states are preparing to do so in March. While the economy has improved as of late, many households still face a cost of living crisis driven by high grocery costs, rental prices, and utility fees. CBS reported that grocery prices in December were 10% higher than the previous year, making the timing of the SNAP cuts “making the timing of the SNAP cuts particularly challenging, experts say.” according to experts.
New York State Sen. Roxanne J. Persaud said, “The SNAP emergency assistance supplements have been significantly helpful to food insecure New Yorkers. It is important for households to know that benefits are returning to regular pre-Pandemic levels next month.”
In addition to SNAP, households receiving Social Security benefits will see a decrease in their SNAP benefits due to an 8.7% cost of living increase for Social Security that took effect at the beginning of the year. The Department of Human Services expects that 249,000 households will feel the impact of these changes and anticipates that approximately 5,000 to 20,000 households will be disenrolled from SNAP due to the Social Security increase, mainly impacting older Pennsylvanians.
The extra payments will be distributed by Friday, February 24, for households outside of New York City and by Tuesday, February 28, for households within the five boroughs, according to OTDA. Additionally, Central Texas SNAP recipients will be able to apply for replacement benefits for food lost or destroyed due to the winter storm and power outages until February 28, 2023.
SNAP households had been receiving an extra $95 each month as part of COVID emergency allotments since April 2020, but these benefits will be ending in February and families with SNAP benefits will receive $95 less per month come March. As a result, Plata-Nino said, states are scrambling to get the word out to residents that their benefits are being dramatically reduced.
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1. “Over 30 Million in US Face ‘Hunger Cliff' as Food Benefit Cuts Loom” Common Dreams, 10 Feb. 2023, https://www.commondreams.org/news/30-million-face-hunger-snap-cuts-loom
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6. “What happens when extra SNAP benefits run out?” Smile Politely – Champaign-Urbana's Online Magazine, 9 Feb. 2023, https://www.smilepolitely.com/homepage-featured/what-happens-when-extra-snap-benefits-run-out
7. “Millions of Americans will lose up to $258 in SNAP benefits for groceries” Business Insider, 10 Feb. 2023, https://www.businessinsider.com/millions-americans-will-lose-snap-benefits-groceries-march-2023-2
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