January 30, 2023
Pandemic Food Benefit is Set to End, and Seniors Risk Additional Food Insecurity
Next month, a pandemic-related benefit increase for participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program, often referred to as food stamps, is scheduled to expire. The change could come despite advocates warning it will put many seniors at a higher risk for food insecurity at a time of increased prices.
Three years ago, when the covid pandemic hit and the country shut down, the federal government responded with programs that helped with expenses such as food and housing. Among them was a temporary boost to SNAP benefits, known as emergency allotments, that increased monthly funds for a single-person household from a minimum of $16 a month to the maximum, now $281 a month, across the board. In March, following the passage of a government spending bill recently by Congress, that boost will end.
Seniors are often more vulnerable to food insecurity because many lack transportation, remain reluctant to gather at food distribution centers due to Covid-19 fears, and have fewer options for adding to their incomes.
“After taking on hunger that affects seniors and Americans of every age during the pandemic, we cannot go backwards,” said Joseph Peters, Jr., Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. “SNAP benefits must not be cut, or we will never be able to address food insecurity in our country.”