NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Jan. 9, 2023) – Food assistance recipients will soon be seeing their benefits return to pre-pandemic levels.
Tuscarawas County JFS Director David Haverfield says the temporary increase Congress authorized early in the pandemic and extended multiple times is expiring at the end of February.
“I think the message has gotten out for a long time that this was not a permanent change. That this was temporary, and we tried to encourage folks not to rely on that too heavily, but we know that people do, so we want to give people as much notice as we can, let them know this change is coming so they can plan for it.”
Recipients have been getting extra money on their SNAP cards at the end of every month since 2021. That will stop come March, and JFS will go back to issuing benefits based on household size and income.
“For example, if you’re an individual, the minimum allotment you can get is $23 a month. Well, during the pandemic, you got an additional $258 a month on top of that so you ended up with $281 a month. That’s going to go back to $23 a month starting here in March, so it’s going to be a big change for a lot of folks.”
Haverfield says if your application information has changed in the past couple of years, now’s the time to report it.
“If your income has changed, if it’s decreased, if the composition of your household has changed or anything, certainly we want to have people let us know those things so we can make sure that we calculate and get you what you’re entitled to get.”
Recipients can request an appeal hearing if they believe the agency miscalculated their benefits but not simply because they want to continue receiving the increased amount. Haverfield says you’ll continue getting it while your appeal is pending but will have to pay back the difference if it’s unsuccessful.