One of the main impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to food crises for households facing sudden loss of income due to business closures. The U.S. government has responded by expanding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to include emergency quotas in addition to regular monthly payments.
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These emergency quotas are scheduled to end nationwide from March 2023, as the pandemic is no longer considered a major health crisis. Emergency quotas have already ended in some states, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These include Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wyoming.
Formerly known as Food Stamps, SNAP is a federal food purchase assistance program overseen by the USDA but administered at the state level.
SNAP recipients eligible for additional money will see their monthly payments reduced by $95 or more when the urgent allocation ends. By some estimates, the average monthly SNAP profit is reduced by $82 per person per month.
These developments have prompted hunger advocates to sound the alarm about the potentially devastating impact on food security for millions of financially distressed American households. .
In a Jan. 31 report in the Union of Concerned Scientists, multidisciplinary scientist Alice Reznickova warned that many of the 42 million people who depend on SNAP are “on the edge of the cliff of hunger.” . This is mainly because SNAP benefits may not have been sufficient even before emergency allocations were approved.
“With so many people now at risk of going hungry without these additional benefits, this shows that pre-pandemic SNAP was inadequate.” The pandemic spread was more than just an immediate gain, it was an essential complement to making SNAP work better in the future.”
Food insecurity remains a US concern
Citing US Department of Agriculture data, Reznikova noted that between 10% and 15% of US households are considered food insecure each year for the past 20 years. This is true even if you take advantage of SNAP benefits.
Furthermore, not everyone who is food insecure can participate in SNAP.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, to qualify, your household’s total income must be below 130% of the poverty line. For a family of three, the poverty line used to calculate her SNAP benefits for fiscal year 2023 is $1,920 per month. This means that 130% of the poverty line for a family of three is $2,495 a month, or about $29,940 a year. According to the CBPP, poverty levels are higher in larger families and lower in smaller families.
However, as Reznikova points out, research on food security found that nearly 19% of households with incomes between 130% and 185% of the poverty threshold identified themselves as food insecure. I’m here. However, because of their income, they are not eligible for her SNAP benefits.
“Many people who need help putting food on the table may not be qualified. [qualify] We may not get the full benefits,” Reznikova wrote. “The introduction of new necessities (such as technology) and rising healthcare, education, and housing costs have stagnated incomes while taking up more space in household budgets. This suggests that households may spend more than 70% of their income on other necessities and may not be able to afford food even with incomes above the federal poverty standard. I mean ”
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She recommended that government officials reassess SNAP eligibility requirements, while others urged lawmakers to make emergency SNAP payments permanent. has not occurred.
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