The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) often referred to as “food stamps,” is a food benefit program aimed at low-income families and individuals that was put into effect after the COVID-19 outbreak in the spring of 2020. The policy increased SNAP’s allotment by giving eligible people at least $95 extra each month to provide for groceries.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the reason why February will be the program’s last month is that the original goal of the policy was to aid families afront the hardships of the pandemic. “The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 law recently passed by Congress ends emergency allotments after the February 2023 issuance,” reads the state agency’s website. “This means by March 2023, all SNAP households’ benefits will return to normal amounts, without the added supplement.”
As The Washington Post reported, the money saved by cutting SNAP’s emergency allotments will help pay for the Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer Program (Summer EBT), a grocery card program that ensures children who are already certified to receive free or reduced-price school meals during the school year, get all the nutrition necessary during summer break.
While representatives from local food banks celebrated the Summer EBT program, they are worried cutting SNAP benefits will put even more pressure on families who are struggling with rising rents and inflation pushing up prices. “You’re seeing people struggle to do more with less and this latest loss of benefits is going to be a big hardship,” Celia Cole, CEO of Feeding Texas told The Dallas Morning News.
As people who depend on the benefit will need to turn elsewhere for assistance, food banks in North Texas are getting ready for an increase in demand. By late December 2022, the North Texas Food Bank (NTFB) reported that families had to pay $325 more each month on food and that there was a 17% increase in meals delivered to providers in North Texas.
“We do feel concerned,” Feeding Texas director of policy and advocacy Jamie Olson told KXAN. “I know a lot of folks might feel anxious about the benefits decreasing, and rightfully so. But our food bank network is here to help. And if anyone does need any emergency food assistance, they can find their local food bank at FeedingTexas.org”
On Jan. 21, the NTFB launched a SNAP mobile, a traveling office to help people apply for SNAP and other benefit programs such as Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and the Medicare Savings Program.