Shapiro Administration Joins Anti-Hunger Advocates To Remind Pennsylvanians Of Major SNAP Changes
Philadelphia, PA - Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) Acting Secretary Val Arkoosh today joined leadership from Philabundance to highlight significant federal changes to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits that will result in a reduction of benefits for all SNAP recipients this month. At today’s event, Acting Secretary Arkoosh addressed how important it is for Pennsylvanians to support their local food banks and pantries as the statewide systems works to help people affected by this change.
The federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, which was passed and signed into law in December, ends a pandemic-era response policy that has provided recipients with an additional SNAP payment every month since early 2020. These payments, known as Emergency Allotments (EAs), bring SNAP households to the maximum monthly benefit for their household size or – if the household is already at its maximum – are $95, whichever is greater.
February was the final month that EAs were authorized to be sent, and SNAP recipients will receive just one SNAP payment in March and moving forward. All SNAP households will lose a minimum of $95 a month in SNAP benefits this month, with a statewide average impact of $181 per household. Additionally, a recent change to Social Security Income following the 2023 cost of living adjustment will cause some seniors and people with disabilities to experience, on average, a further $40 decrease in monthly benefits due to the end of EAs.
“As a physician, I’ve seen the close relationship between a person’s diet and health. Reliable access to healthy foods and the inherent dignity that comes with knowing you can feed yourself and your family can make a difference on both a person’s physical and mental wellbeing,” said Acting Secretary Arkoosh. “If you are having trouble purchasing food for yourself or your family and are worried about what to do or where to go when this extra payment ends, there are resources in the Greater Philadelphia Area that can help.”
“This is a huge, difficult loss for the communities we serve. The end of EAs is sure to exacerbate food insecurity across our service area, creating a looming hunger cliff, said Loree Jones Brown, Philabundance CEO. “We are now purchasing more food and we especially want to make sure we’re providing healthier foods for people. They cost more, things like fresh produce and lean proteins, so we’re trying to get more donated and secure more funding to purchase more.”
“Feeding Pennsylvania is grateful to the Shapiro Administration for their support in helping our network ensure that no one in Pennsylvania goes without enough to eat,” said Shea Saman, CFO of Feeding Pennsylvania. “We look forward to continuing to work with the administration and our elected officials to advocate for policies that support our most vulnerable neighbors in need.”
With the additional benefits now over, Pennsylvania’s charitable food network will be called to step up its fight against hunger in communities across the Commonwealth. Food banks in Pennsylvania typically serve approximately 2.2 million people annually, but since the pandemic began in March 2020, these food banks have served more than 684.2 million pounds of food to more than 83.7 million duplicated individuals and an average of 581,000 people each week. Supporting local food banks and pantries through monetary donations, in-kind donations of needed food items, and volunteer time will help them continue their support through this change and make their heroic work possible.
Food Assistance Resources Available The Shapiro Administration recognizes the impact these changes may have on households and wants to make sure families that need food assistance know where to go for help.
SNAP recipients who are pregnant or have kids under 5 may be able to get help buying food from PA WIC. You can call 1-800-WIC-WINS or apply online at www.pawic.com;
You can call 211 or visit www.pa211.org to connect with various local food resources;
Visit www.feedingpa.org to find local food banks and other food assistance programs;
If you are a SNAP-eligible senior citizen, the Senior Food Box Program can also provide you with additional shelf-stable groceries. Learn more about these programs from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
Pennsylvanians who need to report changes to their household size, income, or expenses like housing, dependent care, and health care costs are encouraged to report any changes online at www.dhs.pa.gov/COMPASS, via the myCOMPASS PA mobile app, or by calling DHS’ Customer Service Center at 877-395-8930 (or 215-560-7226 for Philadelphia residents). This will help ensure households are receiving the maximum SNAP benefit based on their individual circumstances.
For more information about SNAP Emergency Allotments and food assistance resources available, visit dhs.pa.gov/SNAPcares.
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