~ from DHS news release
After almost three years, temporary emergency benefits that helped Minnesotans with low incomes buy food during the COVID-19 pandemic are ending.
Most clients will receive their final emergency payments for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in March. Most SNAP recipients were eligible for the emergency allotments. They received either an additional $95 in benefits, or an additional benefit valued up to the maximum benefit for their household size, whichever was greater.
Since March 2020, when Congress approved the Family First Coronavirus Act, $1.3 billion in emergency SNAP benefits have gone to more than 350,000 Minnesota households.
“That extra support during the pandemic was a welcome relief for people who count on SNAP,” said Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead. “We know that many Minnesotans still struggle to put food on the table. Without the additional federal benefits, that will become even more difficult.”
A recently approved federal spending bill calls for emergency SNAP benefits to expire in February. Since benefits are usually issued a month after eligibility is determined, most recipients will receive their final emergency assistance in March. SNAP benefits will return to regular amounts in April.
While the pandemic has waned, food security continues to be a problem for many Minnesotans, especially with the escalating cost of groceries. People struggling with food insecurity can find links to additional resources on the Department of Human Services’ website.
Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan’s budget include several proposals to help increase food security for Minnesotans, improving food distribution and access for Tribal nations and families across the state. Both bodies of the Minnesota Legislature have approved an additional $5 million for the Minnesota Food Shelf Program, and that bill now goes to Governor Walz for action.