Over half of the states in the United States are beginning to phase out their various financial assistance efforts for residents who struggled to pay for their grocery bills during the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, a move that will affect roughly 30 million Americans.
According to ABC News, the governments of 32 states and other local governments have been taking steps to make sure the population is well-informed of the coming change so that they are not caught unaware. Warnings have been sent to many recipients in the forms of text messages, voicemails, regular mail, and social media posts, among others, informing the populace that the extra food stamps will be coming to an end after February’s payments.
On average, most recipients will see about $90 less per month than they were during and immediately after COVID. However, analyses by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which runs the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), have shown that many could see the amount drop by even greater levels, based primarily on a household’s income, size, and various expenses.
“One of the scenarios you don’t want to see is the first time they’re aware of it is in the checkout line at the grocery store,” said Ellen Vollinger, a spokeswoman for the nonprofit Food Research & Action Center.
“We want to make sure our clients are prepared for this change, as we realize inflation is affecting all of us,” said Lewis Roubal, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The state of Michigan issued an announcement to 1.3 million residents that they will need to “seek needed resources” ahead of the coming cuts.
The extra grocery assistance was part of the broader COVID aid package that was first passed by Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump in March of 2020, followed by another package later in the year. Such benefits were meant to last as long as the federal government’s COVID-19 public health emergency declaration was in force. However, since the Biden Administration has announced its intention to end the declaration this May, many of the benefits and other emergency provisions will expire with it.