RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — After almost three years, the federal government is ending pandemic-era emergency SNAP payments. The supplemental nutrition assistance program, better known as “SNAP” will continue to be available to low-income families, but without the added boost in payment that was given to account for the pandemic.
The extra money for SNAP benefits started at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic back in 2020 when millions of people lost their jobs. Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to help people better provide for themselves during the pandemic.
But why are the benefits coming to an end now?
The Biden Administration will end the COVID-19 national and public health emergencies effective on May 11. The extra SNAP benefit money was always temporary and intended to be stopped once the pandemic emergency ended.
SNAP benefit recipients will no longer receive the additional $95, or more, on top of their normal payment.
The change comes as inflation is still high across the United States. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, food prices alone are up 10% from a year ago.
Some SNAP recipients are planning to appeal to their states to fill the gap from the loss in federal funding.
8News visited the Department of Social Security in Richmond to learn more about the expiring benefits and what could happen next for the state of Virginia. However, due to the high volume of people inquiring about the change in funding today, a representative was unable to answer our questions.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that some states had already stopped the pandemic-era, emergency SNAP allotments. Effective today, March 1, 2023, the remaining states, plus Washington, D.C. and Guam, will stop receiving the extra SNAP funds.