CINCINNATI — You might soon notice a drop in your monthly Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
At the start of the pandemic, the U.S. government allowed states to issue enhanced SNAP benefits. As several states now end their public health emergencies, these benefits are ending too.
Starting in May, Kentuckians will no longer receive the extra benefits, according to the state department overseeing the program. An official with the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services said households will see a median loss of benefits of $210 per month. The program ended as a result of Kentucky Senate Joint Resolution 150, which ended the state’s COVID-19 emergency declaration.
In Indiana, June is the first month individuals will not receive enhanced benefits. Indiana’s Family and Social Services Administration says the program will end because of the end of the state public health emergency and a change in Indiana law.
In Ohio, there is no end date set for the program, according to an official with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. The official said the exact timing of when enhanced SNAP benefits end is dependent on the expiration of the federal public health emergency declaration, which remains in effect.
Kam McKenzie, SNAP Outreach Manager at Freestore Foodbank, said people will have to scale back as benefits shrink and food prices remain high. She recommends having a plan before shopping, mapping out sales in advance and using coupons and shopper reward programs.
McKenzie said food banks can fill in the gaps, and demand has remained high since the pandemic started. The food bank expects to see even more demand after the programs end in all three states.
“Young and old, everybody's coming in,” McKenzie said. “We get so many calls into our call center daily, with brand new individuals asking us about hours and how the process looks like when they come into a food pantry. This is very new to a lot of Americans.”
You can call the Freestore Foodbank Benefit Call Center if you need more information or directions to your nearest food pantry. The number is 513-381-SNAP (7627).
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