Written By: Lindsay Troyer
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) recipients in Pennsylvania have been temporarily receiving an “extra SNAP” payment in the second half of the month. This extra boost (averaging $95+) has been supporting households already experiencing food insecurity and helped mitigate the impact of the pandemic on this more vulnerable population. However, these additional SNAP distributions will be ending this month, and food banks and nonprofits are preparing for the predicted increases, including our food programs here at BCHG. We are ready to help our community members who will face extra needs as a result of this change. Please visit and share our food pantries page if you or someone you care about is in need, and continue reading to learn more about this policy and its changes in our community.
What is SNAP and how do ‘emergency allotments’ work?
SNAP benefits are tiered monthly monetary distribution based on the USDA’s Thrifty Food Plan – defined by the USDA as “the cost of groceries needed to provide a healthy, budget-conscious diet for a family of four.” The “maximum benefit allowed” is given to those with essentially no income. Using this determination, a family of 4’s maximum allotment would be $939/month, and under non-emergency circumstances, that maximum allotment would be reduced by 30% of the household’s net income, averaging closer to $700/month for that family of 4.
Emergency Allotments were implemented at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and SNAP recipients who had already been receiving the maximum allotment based on their ‘income’ received a second payment of an additional $95/month. Recipients who hadn’t met the maximum allotment prior to the pandemic began receiving the difference between their distribution and the maximum allotment as a second monthly disbursement in the second half of the month.
Emergency Allotment Impact
Emergency allotments kept approximately 4.2 million people out of poverty, reducing poverty by 9.6% in states with them – including reducing child poverty by 14% (Wheaton and Kwon, Urban Institute, 2022). Unfortunately, ending these extra SNAP allotments will create extra challenges for our community members to meet their nutritional and dietary needs, but that’s where your local food banks, pantries, and community fridges help bridge the gap. Now more than ever, this is where food secure community members can get involved and really make a big difference.
Check out our food programs page for more information about our food pantry, mobile markets, and how to get involved in our community! To donate to our mission and our food programs, visit our donations page.
To see our food program’s impact on Bucks County children, check out this infographic: