These 19 states will extend emergency food benefit payments through October
Some states still offer an additional $95 in emergency SNAP benefits.
- 19 states are still offering emergency benefits to SNAP recipients as of October.
- SNAP benefits are increasing across America to match the cost of living increase on October 1, 2022.
- If you don’t qualify for SNAP benefits, contact local food charities for help.
SNAP food benefits are a lifeline for some families. On average, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helped 41 million people per month in 2021. Eligibility requirements vary by state, but in general the program helps low-income households. returned across the country to keep food on the table.
At the height of the pandemic, many states offered additional emergency allowances of at least $95 per household. In addition to increasing payments, states have relaxed SNAP requirements and provided more flexibility in their application processes. However, as we began to adjust to a new post-COVID normal, all but 19 states withdrew the extra SNAP money.
According to the USDA, the following states have been granted waivers allowing them to pay emergency benefits in October:
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- District of Colombia
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- Caroline from the south
- West Virginia
If you live in one of the states listed above, the minimum emergency allowance is an additional $95 per household. The exact amount is the difference between the maximum benefit for a household of your size and the amount you are already receiving. If this difference is less than the minimum amount, you will receive $95. This could leave you with more money in your bank account to cover other costs.
SNAP benefits will increase on October 1
There has been a significant increase in the cost of groceries over the past year. Data from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows that between June 2021 and June 2022, average grocery costs increased by 12.2%. This is the largest price increase since 1979. As a result, effective October 1, SNAP levels will increase to reflect the higher cost of living.
In much of America, a four-person household receiving the maximum benefits will now receive $939, up from $835 previously. Residents of Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and the US Virgin Islands receive larger payments. The new amount applies to fiscal year 2023, which begins in October. The new maximum payment for a one-person household will be $281, up from $250 for the current fiscal year.
To qualify, your local SNAP office will review your gross monthly income, net income, and any assets you hold. In many cases, benefits are limited to three months, a restriction much of the country suspended during the pandemic. If your application is successful, you will receive an ETB (electronic benefit transfer) card to use at various stores and, in some states, online.
SNAP benefits can be used to pay for fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, dairy, breads, cereals and snacks. Money cannot be used to pay for alcohol, tobacco, pet food and certain other products. Look for Double Up Food Bucks, Double Dollars or other programs nationwide where participating farmers’ markets offer additional benefits to SNAP spenders.
Get emergency food aid
Being hungry or not being able to feed your family can be extremely stressful. Money-saving options like bulk buying, meal planning, and grocery cashback apps don’t go far. Increased SNAP benefits and continued emergency assistance in some states will ease the pressure for some households. But not everyone is eligible, especially as some parts of the country roll back their pandemic exceptions.
If you need urgent assistance, the following options may give you some respite:
- Look for local food banks or pantries. There are several networks of food banks, soup kitchens and food pantries that operate across the country. Look online or call one of the numbers below.
- Call the USDA National Hunger Hotline. A representative at 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479) or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (1-877-842-6273) will help you find nearby food assistance.
- Contact Centraide at 211. United Way has information on various programs and NGOs in your area that may be able to help you.
The past few years have been extraordinary in many ways and you are not alone if you are struggling financially. While there are no easy answers, if you’re having trouble getting food on the table, don’t be afraid to ask for help.