Federal Extra COVID Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits – sometimes referred to as “SNAP Emergency Allotments” – have helped people with lower incomes to afford food. They were created during the pandemic and were provided to families, over and above their normal SNAP benefit amount, with a minimum of $95 extra each month on a family’s EBT card. But – due to an action by the federal government in the Congressional Consolidated Appropriations Act 2023 – those extra benefits are scheduled to expire at the end of February, with Massachusetts households expected to receive their last Federal Extra COVID SNAP disbursements on March 2, 2023.
Why does this matter?
This is a big deal because with food prices soaring and people still affected by the pandemic, over 16% of Massachusetts’ households (and over 21% of households with children) are facing food insecurity. More people are likely to turn to food programs, like their local pantry, for help putting food on the table. This can be challenging for food programs, too, as they work to meet the need.
What can I do?
If you’re someone who has received Federal Extra COVID SNAP benefits, check out this site.
If you’re someone who cares about food insecurity, share the same site on your social media as a way to let those who may be impacted by the loss of these extra benefits know it’s there as a resource for them. Plus, talk up the benefits of SNAP! While regular SNAP benefits alone might not be enough to meet a household’s needs entirely, they’re a help – and they can be a help to many more people than are currently enrolled in the program. In Massachusetts alone, the “SNAP gap” – the number of people who are likely eligible for SNAP, but not receiving benefits – is over 700,000 people!
Any other ways to support?
Absolutely. In addition to speaking up for policies and programs that help people access and afford food, show some love to your local food programs if you can! We’re working to feed neighbors who need us now – and we rely on financial donations to carry out our work.