COVID-Era SNAP benefits ending this month

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ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) — On February 28th the COVID SNAP benefit recipients New York State will see a reduction in funding. According to the Food Bank of the Southern Tier beneficiaries are predicted to lose $151 per household.

“Due to changes in federal law that were enacted during COVID these folks that are participating in snap, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, will be seeing decreases in their monthly allotments beginning in March. So February is the last month the extra COVID allotments will be distributed,” said Randi Quackenbush, Vice President of Community Impact at the Food Bank of the Southern Tier.

Not all states have experienced the reduction at once, 17 states already saw the pandemic-era benefits dissolve. The change in benefits stems from a bill Congress passed in December called the Consolidated Appropriations Act.

“In New York state we are standing to lose $228 million a month in federal benefits. At the same time we are advocating on the state level for additional funding from the governors budget and for the legislative process to fund operations of the Food Bank,” said Quackenbush.

However, that does not mean that additional state funding is a slam dunk. If anything, there is a risk state funding could be reduced.

“We are also seeing proposed cuts on the state level,” said Quackenbush

SNAP benefits were increased in March 2020 when the COVID pandemic shut down much the country. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) took immediate action and approved emergency allotments.

“Every dollar spent in SNAP that someone receives is spent locally and generates between $1.50 and $1.80 in economic activity. So we are looking at, you know, over the next year over a billion dollars lost in SNAP across the state,” said Quackenbush

The Food Bank of Southern Tier says they are working to compensate for the loss of funding.

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