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SNAP Crisis Looms: Virginians Facing ‘Benefits Cliff’ as Emergency Funds Dry Up, Lawmakers Scramble for Solutions

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has provided a monthly boost to almost half a million households in Virginia since 2020 to help them navigate the pandemic. However, this boost will come to an end in February, and starting in March, families will see their accounts filled to pre-pandemic levels, according to a report by NBC 12 on January 13, 2023.


This decrease in funds, referred to as the “benefits cliff,” will result in a decrease of $80 per month for each SNAP recipient. This is a concern for organizations that serve SNAP recipients, such as Feeding Southwest Virginia, as well as lawmakers. The CEO of Feeding Southwest Virginia, Pam Irvine, worries that the decrease in funds will cause families to be in trouble and unable to adjust accordingly.


Lawmakers, including Del. Sam Rasoul and Sen. Tim Kaine, recognize the importance of addressing food insecurity and are committed to finding additional solutions. The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the existing issues of food insecurity, and emergency funding in 2020 will help increase SNAP benefits and aid Virginians. Despite the increase of $13.4 billion in SNAP funding in the recent government funding bill, more needs to be done to address food insecurity, according to an NBC News report.


Families utilizing SNAP should be aware that the extra emergency funding will end in February. There is concern about the decrease in funds for SNAP recipients, and there are no plans to make the boost permanent. Lawmakers are focusing on reducing the cost of essentials for Virginians during the upcoming legislative session. More information can be found on the Virginia Department of Social Services and USDA websites.

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