Americans who qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) have been given a financial boost through an emergency allotment that provides $95 or more in additional funds each month up to the maximum benefit amount. But when that allotment expires, recipients could see their benefits take a sharp drop.
The allotment was granted to help SNAP recipients weather financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many were also given a 15% increase that is scheduled to expire on Sept. 30, Forbes reported. The Biden administration looks to ease some of the financial pain by implementing a permanent increase to SNAP benefits started on Oct. 1, 2022.
As Forbes noted, the temporary SNAP increase provided about $27 more per person each month. Between the 15% boost and the emergency allotment, the average monthly food benefit per person is currently $240. That will rise to $251 with the permanent increase.
But when the emergency allotment ends, the average monthly benefit per person will drop to $169. There is no set expiration date for the emergency allotment, though Forbes said some policy experts expect it to be available in most states only through the end of the year.
No matter when it ends, there are some things recipients can do to prepare for lower SNAP benefits. Here are three ways to prepare for the end of the emergency SNAP allotment:
Plan your grocery purchases in advance to ensure you don’t run out of funds before the end of the month. If you find it difficult to stretch your dollars, take the time to research food banks such as Feeding America, which last year distributed more than 3.6 billion meals to people in need.
Investigate other benefits you might be eligible for, such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), which is available to help low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women with infants or children up to 5 years old.
Look into assistance beyond food, such as LIHEAP to pay for heating.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: What to Do When the SNAP Emergency Allotment Ends In Your State