Low-income Americans will soon receive less in food assistance or completely lose their eligibility for the benefits, as the federal government ends policies adopted at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic that kept millions from going hungry at a time of lockdowns and rising unemployment. Anti-hunger advocates warned that the looming drop in aid could undo progress toward a Biden administration goal to end U.S. hunger by 2030. The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives may also pursue further cuts to food assistance to shrink the U.S. deficit. >> Full story
Angie: The Covid-19 pandemic changed everyone’s way of life, but for many low-income families, things are about to get more complicated.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, called SNAP for short, gives low income households a set amount of money to spend on food each month.
Prior to 2020, most states coordinated the amount of money given based on the income of each household.
But after the pandemic hit, states were allowed to max out those amounts to anyone that qualified.
Now as the acute phase of the pandemic winds down, at the end of March, the federal government is making big cuts to the program.
Many people will receive less benefits, and some people won’t qualify for SNAP at all, as the cost of food continues to climb.
SOT: “We’re still dealing with COVID. We’re still dealing with a lot of people that lost their jobs and prices are going up. Gas, you know, food, eggs, what? $9.99 for 18 eggs, like, you know, so it’s… I don’t know. People that have children. You know, it goes beyond that. It goes with hygiene items, it goes with diapers, formula, all of that.”
Experts say the boost in benefits kept 4.2 million people out of poverty, and anti-hunger advocates worry that these cuts could reverse that.
SOT: “Decrease in benefits, in the SNAP benefits, is going to hit families and individuals at a time when food prices have increased 10% over the last year. So that’s going to put more pressure on food banks and our partner agency network to provide food because these are already families and people struggling to meet all of their basic needs. So we’re kind of holding on for another increase in the demand for food.”
With a split Congress, it’s unlikely this decision will be reversed. Republicans, who now control the House of Representatives, have hinted they may make SNAP qualifications even stricter.