COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohioans receiving federal food assistance will soon see a drop in their monthly allotments.
COVID-19-related emergency boosts in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients’ benefits will end at the end of February due to a government spending bill. The emergency benefits allowed households to receive the maximum monthly amount available under the program.
According to Franklin County Job and Family Services, more than 163,000 county residents receive emergency SNAP benefits. In December, more than $12.5 million in SNAP emergency allotments were issued in Franklin County.
“That’s $12.5 million coming out of the local economy come March, that won’t be available for working families and seniors and won’t be spent at local grocery stores,” said Bart Logan, a spokesperson for the county job and family services department.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services began sending emergency SNAP allotments in March 2020, according to the state department. Without the allotments, recipients will revert back to their original eligibility — which may be significantly lower than what they’ve received for two years.
For example, Mike Hochron of the Mid-Ohio Food Collective said an older adult might see their benefit go from about $250 a month down to $23 a month.
“A whole lot of people are resilient and resourceful and are struggling to feed their families. So, when you layer on top of that, a really significant reduction in purchasing power for low-income and working families, it’s going to have a big impact,” Hochron said.
Some states have already ended their enhanced SNAP benefits, according to the USDA. Ohio will join 31 other states and territories in following suit come March.
Households that receive social security may also see a decrease in their SNAP benefits because of a higher social security benefit.