- Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Executive Deputy Secretary Andrew Barnes joined the PA Department of Agriculture, Feeding PA, Community Action Partnership of Lancaster County, and others at the Lancaster Central Market today to recognize Hunger Action Month and to announce updates to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, that will expand eligibility for Pennsylvanians in need of food assistance.
Effective October 1, Pennsylvania will increase the income threshold for all applicants to 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines (FPIG). With this change, more than 420,000 additional Pennsylvanians in more than 174,000 households will be newly eligible for SNAP and will receive, on average, $63 a month.
“Being able to eat and nourish yourself every day is one of the most essential building blocks to living well and doing everything else in life. It’s easy to take for granted, but for too many people, being able to afford your next meal isn’t a given. SNAP helps to make that possible,” said Barnes. “Expanding eligibility for SNAP allows us to extend a reprieve to people who may be struggling so we can help more Pennsylvanians meet this most essential need that literally fuels us to live, work, grow, and thrive.”
“No one should go to bed hungry, and these updates to SNAP will help in the fight to eliminate hunger. More families will gain access to the fresh, nutritious foods they need," said Caryn Long Earl, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's Director of the Bureau of Food Assistance. "In addition to SNAP benefits, Pennsylvanians experiencing food insecurity can access programs including the Farmers Market Nutrition Program, Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System Program, Senior Food Box Program, and more. If you are hungry, there are programs to help.”
"While our food banks strive to provide nutritious food for all Pennsylvanians facing hunger, our work is only a fraction of what the federal nutrition programs can accomplish. For every meal our food banks provide, SNAP provides nine," said Jane Clements, CEO of Feeding Pennsylvania. "We are grateful to the Wolf Administration for recognizing the need to expand access to SNAP for families who were just outside of the eligibility threshold, yet still in desperate need of support to make ends meet."
“We know that thriving families create thriving communities, however families cannot thrive if they do not have adequate food resources available to them,” said Vanessa Philbert, Chief Executive Officer of Community Action Partnership of Lancaster County. “Expanding access to nutritious food increases the health of the entire community and enhances prosperity for everyone.”
Beginning on October 1, 2022, DHS will expand Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility (BBCE) for SNAP. While SNAP is a federal program and SNAP benefits are funded through the federal budget, states administer eligibility and issuance of benefits. BBCE is a policy that gives states, including Pennsylvania, the flexibility to determine appropriate income thresholds and extend SNAP benefits to low-income families and individuals who would otherwise struggle to afford food. DHS currently uses BBCE flexibility to set income thresholds to 160 percent of the FPIG for households that do not have elderly or disabled members.
With this change, the household monthly income limits for all households to be eligible for SNAP are as follows:
September is National Hunger Action Month. According to Feeding Pennsylvania, more than 2 million Pennsylvanians experience chronic hunger and food insecurity every day, including one in seven children. Programs like SNAP and charitable food networks around the commonwealth help working adults, people with disabilities, older adults, and children access food and expand their purchasing power so they do not have to choose between paying for a doctor’s appointment or being able to eat dinner. Inadequate food and chronic nutrient deficiencies have profound effects on a person’s life and health, including increased risks for chronic diseases, higher chances of hospitalization, poorer overall health, and increased health care costs.
SNAP helps more than 1.8 million Pennsylvanians by providing money each month to spend on groceries, helping households have resources to purchase enough food to avoid going hungry. SNAP is our country’s most important and most impactful anti-hunger program. For every meal provided by a Feeding Pennsylvania food bank, SNAP provides nine.
Applications for SNAP and other public assistance programs can be submitted online at www.compass.state.pa.us. SNAP and Medicaid applications are accepted by phone by calling the Consumer Service Center at 1-866-550-4355. On-site County Assistance Office (CAO) services are available if clients cannot access online services or need assistance that cannot be accessed through the COMPASS website, the myCOMPASS PA mobile app, or by calling the Customer Service Centers at 215-560-7226 for Philadelphia clients or 1-877-395-8930 for clients in all other counties.
For additional information about food assistance resources for people around Pennsylvania impacted by COVID-19 and economic insecurity, visit the Department of Agriculture's food security guide.
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