More than 420,000 additional Pennsylvanians will be eligible to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, starting Oct. 1
The state Department of Human Services announced it is raising the income eligibility thresholds for this program, formerly known as food stamps, to 200%, up from 160%, of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines for all households and not just ones with senior citizens and individuals with disabilities as is currently the case.
Currently. the higher income eligibility threshold for only households with senior citizens and individuals with disabilities and the others
This change potentially expands eligibility to more than 174,000 households, enabling them to receive, on average, $63 a month for food assistance.
“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 Andrew Barnes, the human services department’s executive deputy secretary, who spoke at a Thursday event recognizing September as Hunger Action Month.
SNAP already 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
“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,” Barnes said.
Along with SNAP benefits, Pennsylvanians experiencing food insecurity can access the Farmers Market Nutrition Program, Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System Program, Senior Food Box Program, and more.
“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.”
SNAP is a federally funded program that states administer. States have the flexibility to determine income eligibility thresholds through the federal Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility policy.
With this change coming in October, the monthly income limits for all households to be eligible for SNAP are as follows: $2,266 for households of one, $3,052 for two-person households, $3,840 for households of three, $4,626 for four, $5,412 for five, $6,200 for six, $6,986 for seven, $7,772 for eight, $8,560 for nine; $9,348 for 10. The limits go up $788 for each person beyond that.
Applications for SNAP and other public assistance programs can be submitted online at www.compass.state.pa.us, by calling 1-866-550-4355, or visiting a county assistance office.
Jan Murphy may be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @JanMurphy.
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