Oklahomans are encouraged to prepare for pre-pandemic benefits beginning in March as emergency benefits expire in February.
Oklahoma Human Services announced on Wednesday emergency additional payments given for families’ Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will be ending in February.
These emergency payments were due to the pandemic and launched in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act in 2020. These will come to an end with the passing of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023.
Pre-pandemic SNAP benefits will return beginning March 1.
During the past three years, those receiving SNAP benefits were given an increased amount that what they were originally allotted. Eligibility is determined by a multitude of factors, including income, household size and household expenses.
The additional benefits were called “emergency allotments” and were given during the second half of the month, while the original amount was given during the first 10 days of the month.
“The agency knows these additional benefits have been critical to meeting the needs of Oklahomans during such difficult times,” said Deb Smith, Director of Adult and Family Services. “We want to give families as much time as we can to plan to ease the transition into the end of the emergency allotments. We can also make connections to a host of wonderful community partners who stand in the gaps for our customers to offer help.”
In fiscal year 2022, more than 408,000 Oklahoma families and 855,000 individuals received SNAP benefits. The average benefit was $7.07 per person or $2.36 per meal. Most SNAP recipients are children, older adults, individuals with disabilities.
“We know that these increased benefits have been important to so many Oklahomans over the last three years and that this change will impact some SNAP users harder than others, particularly our senior and disabled neighbors,” said Chris Bernard, President/CEO of Hunger Free Oklahoma. “Undoubtedly, this will create an increased demand on our charitable organizations across the state and an increased need for Oklahomans to support their local food pantries and food banks. Hunger Free Oklahoma also stands ready to assist people and organizations to connect to more federal food resources and make sure that they are up to date in their information to receive the benefits to which they are entitled.”
For any families that this will impact negatively, resources are available:
- 2-1-1: Call 2-1-1 or click here.
- Be a Neighbor: click here.
- Hunger Free Oklahoma: Call 877-760-0114 or click here.
- Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma: Call 405-972-1111 or click here.
- Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma: In Tulsa, call 918-585-2800 or McAlester, call 918-429-7755 or click here.
- Oklahoma Women, Infants & Children Program (WIC): Call 405-426-8500 or click here.
Oklahomans who wish to apply for SNAP, Child Care assistance or other programs administered by Oklahoma Human Services, click here.
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