The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program that helps people with low incomes buy food. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government provided additional benefits. However, 17 states voluntarily chose to stop giving SNAP recipients additional benefits before the start of 2023. SNAP recipients in those 17 states will not see changes in their monthly benefits between February and March.
Congress ended the extra allotments for all states in February 2023, meaning people will have fewer SNAP funds to spend in March than they did in February. This includes 32 states plus Washington, D.C., Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The state’s emergency allotments in South Carolina came to an early end a month early, so SNAP participants there last received an increase in benefits in January.
The USDA has released a list of states that will be affected by the end of emergency allotments at the end of February. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that every household in those 32 states will receive at least $95 less a month, and some households will see reductions of hundreds of dollars per month. How much a household loses in SNAP benefits per month will depend on the size of the household, whether there are children, disabled people, or adults over 60, and the household income of the residents.
SNAP recipients will not return to pre-pandemic levels of benefits due to annual cost-of-living adjustments and an October 2021 change to make benefits more closely reflect the cost of a healthy diet. According to a Jan. 27 blog post by the USDA, the average monthly SNAP benefits per person pre-Pandemic was $121; that number is estimated to be $169 in March (Winter, 2023).