HANCOCK COUNTY, Ohio — Local officials are reminding those who rely on SNAP benefits for their groceries that changes to the program are coming soon.
"We will see, probably in the short term, a reliance on food pantries and non-profits to fill in that nutrition gap that will occur once that happens," Randall Galbraith, Director of Hancock County Jobs and Family Services said.
The national Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also called food stamps, has been under an emergency allotment to help those in need during the pandemic since the spring 2020.
Currently the Ohio SNAP program is still within that emergency allotment, meaning anyone who qualifies to receive SNAP has been given the maximum amount possible since 2020.
Soon, the program will return to pre-pandemic operations, meaning SNAP benefits will once again be based on household size and income.
"For almost three years now, families who receive SNAP have received the maximum amount of benefits that they could receive in the program," Gailbrait said. "That ends in March. February will be the last month for that full allotment."
In March, all SNAP recipients will see much less funding than they are accustomed to.
Local leaders in Hancock County said they were anticipating a return to normal procedures; United Way of Hancock County has been preparing for the change for months.
Leaders have adjusted their grants to make sure non-profits that provide food were given a higher percentage of funding to keep their shelves stocked.
They have also been working with non-profit volunteers to be prepared to help with an expected spike in food insecurity in the area.
"We also know that with the reduction in SNAP benefits, we are also seeing an increase in food costs," Angela Deboskey, CEO of United Way of Hancock County, said. "Those things will have a compounding effect on one another, so we wanted to be prepared for that."
If you are receiving SNAP benefits, you can click hereto see a chart of your adjusted SNAP benefits beginning in March.
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