Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits were initially increased at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Although Republicans in 18 states had already ended the emergency allotments (EAs), households in the other 32 states along with Washington, D.C., Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have continued to receive them. However, the increased SNAP benefits are set to end Wednesday because of the omnibus spending package from December—federal lawmakers traded the temporary pandemic-era boost for a permanent program to feed children in the summer.
Tracy Roof, an associate professor of political science at the University of Richmond, recently wrote for The Conversation:
"Many advocates for a stronger safety net say that SNAP benefits are too low to meet the needs of low-income people. They are warning of a looming hunger cliff—meaning a sharp increase in the number of people who don't get enough nutritious food to eat—in March 2023, when the extra help ends.
At that point, the lowest-income families will lose $95 in benefits a month. But some SNAP participants, such as many elderly and disabled people who live alone and on fixed incomes and who only qualify for the minimum amount of help, will see their benefits plummet from $281 to $23 a month."
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) experts pointed out earlier this month that "a study estimated that EAs kept 4.2 million people above the poverty line in the last quarter of 2021, reducing poverty by 10%―and child poverty by 14%―in states with EAs at the time. The estimated reduction in poverty rates due to EAs was highest for Black and Latino people."
CBPP president Sharon Parrott warned Axios Tuesday that the cuts will "allow very high levels of poverty to remain in the country."
Public Citizen President Robert Weissman declared that "a decent society would not let this happen."