Termination of COVID-Era SNAP Benefits Places Millions at Risk of Falling Into Poverty

While the program that provided more than 32 million people with additional SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits during the epidemic is due to expire, a substantial proportion of Americans are at risk of falling below the poverty line. Families received an additional $95 per month for food.

Due to the development of the COVID-19 virus, an unprecedented number of people have encountered further financial hardships since 2020. The Consolidated Appropriations Act was passed by Congress at the end of 2022, ending the expanded program in February. The change occurs as grocery store food costs continue to soar.

Throughout the pandemic, approximately 4.2 million Americans remained above the poverty line due to the additional aid at the end of 2021, according to a study conducted by the Urban Institute. In states with the SNAP expansion, poverty was reduced by 9.6 percent. In states where the program has already terminated, however, reports of individuals unable to purchase essential food products have surfaced.

Stacy Dean, USDA deputy undersecretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services, told the Associated Press, “The emergency allotments were always supposed to be temporary, and they did enormous good during a really tough period in our country.”

Recent cost-of-living adjustments of 8.7 percent will not be enough to compensate for the loss of SNAP payments for senior citizens receiving Social Security.