Emergency SNAP Allotments to End
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 21, 2022
Contact: Craig_Nash@baylor.edu (254) 498-7602
A congressionally approved United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) initiative that allows states to approve maximum benefit amounts for recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), regardless of income, will be discontinued at the end of February. The emergency allotment for these funds was a component of the commitment of the U.S. government to lessen the effect of COVID-related shutdowns on the food security situation of low-income Americans. During this time, each state could exercise a monthly option to access the emergency allotments. More than half the states, including Texas, have continued to opt-in to the allotment each month since they were approved.
The increase in SNAP benefits was part of a large array of hunger-mitigation interventions utilized during the height of the pandemic. These also included more robust subsidies for food banks, less restrictive regulations for school nutrition programs, direct funds distributed through Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards for families of children to purchase food during school closures, and a nationwide expansion of Meals-to-You (MTY), a Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty (BCHP) demonstration project that delivered meals directly to the homes of students in rural areas without easy access to summer food programs. All these efforts are credited with averting what could have been a domestic humanitarian food crisis.
Jeremy Everett, BCHP’s Executive Director, notes that “during the height of the pandemic, food security rates remained virtually unchanged. When you consider the fact that our entire economy completely shut down for several weeks, and was partially discontinued for over a year, this is a significant national accomplishment that would not have been possible without the federal government unleashing the floodgates of support.” He added, “How the nation responded to the food security situation during the height of the pandemic provides a road map for how to respond moving forward.”
To that point, provisions in the 2023 Omnibus Spending Bill have made Summer EBT and Rural Meal delivery programs permanent fixtures in the child nutrition landscape of the United States.
The end of emergency SNAP allotments will result in benefit amounts returning to pre-pandemic levels for all program participants, with a minimum reduction of $95. These benefit adjustments will occur automatically and don’t require any actions by individuals. In Texas, SNAP recipients will receive notification of their updated benefit amount from the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). As always, they can check updates to their benefits at YourTexasBenefits.com.