Inflation, growth of food sales or growth of market basket or consumer price index concept. Shopping basket with foods and coin stacks. 3d illustration

Food stamp benefits slashed

On March 1, 2023, extra SNAP payments allotted under a pandemic-era aid policy are set to expire in 32 states, as millions of low-income Americans will have less money for groceries at a time when food inflation is sky-high.

Food stamp SNAP extra benefits to expire in 32 states

Food banks are bracing for a spike in demand as the pandemic-era federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, will come to an end in 32 states on March 1; the other 18 states have already ended their programs.

For millions of low-income households, food stamp recipients will see their monthly grocery budget reduced by at least $95, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, NBC News reported.

In terms of a daily budget, the end of the SNAP program will reduce the roughly $9 per-person average daily food budget to about $6.10, according to estimates.

However, the amount could be greater depending on family size. Some larger families could see monthly reductions of about $250 or greater, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, CNN reported.

For example, a family of four could see their monthly benefit reduced by about $328 per month. Some Americans could see their SNAP payments plummet from $281 to as little as $23 per month.

Food inflation continues to rise

As the SNAP benefits come to an end, reducing food budgets, at the same time, overall food prices in January 2023 increased 11.3% year-over-year for food at home, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS).

In January, overall inflation as measured by the consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.5%, more than expected, and up 6.4% year-over-year, CNBC reported. Inflation dipped only slightly from 6.5% in December 2022.

Last year, inflation reached a high of 9% in July and stayed above 8% through September, falling below 7% in December, according to BLS.

The states likely to be impacted the most are some of the most populous, such as California, which has 5.1 million people on the SNAP program, and Texas, which has around 3.6 million recipients, CBS reported.

Why are the benefits coming to an end?

As part of a government funding package that was passed late last year, Congress voted to bring an end to the pandemic emergency SNAP allotments. However, the legislation did create a permanent summer benefits program in order to provide families of roughly 30 million children the funding to purchase groceries in place of school meals during the summer break.