Food Stamps: States Extending SNAP Emergency Allotment Money Through October 2022

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U.S. households that qualify for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits were given a financial boost during the COVID-19 pandemic in the form of an emergency allotment that provides $95 or more in additional funds each month. In most states, that allotment has already expired, but more than a dozen states have extended it through October 2022.

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The emergency allotment was granted to help SNAP recipients weather financial hardships caused by the pandemic. State SNAP agencies were allowed to issue the allotment payments on a month-to-month basis to all SNAP households that normally receive less than the maximum benefit. Households that are at or near the maximum SNAP benefit receive at least $95.

As long as there’s a national public health emergency in place — and individual states have established state-level emergency declarations — those states can opt to keep providing monthly emergency allotments. Public health emergencies are extended for 90 days at a time.

SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, is a federal program that provides food-purchasing assistance to low-income households. Although it is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the program is administered at the state level, and individual states set payment dates and other rules. Recipients now pay with electronic benefits transfer cards instead of food stamps, though some states have different names for the cards.

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SNAP benefits can be used to purchase the following food items:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Meat, poultry and fish
  • Dairy products
  • Breads and cereals
  • Snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages
  • Seeds and plants that produce food for the household to eat.

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Among the items you can’t buy with SNAP benefits are alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, vitamins, medicines, supplements, live animals, pet foods, cleaning supplies, paper products and cosmetics. In most states, SNAP benefits also cannot be used to purchase prepared food that is hot at the point of sale or meant to be eaten in-store.

As of Sept. 23, 2022, the USDA had granted waivers to the following states to extend their emergency allotments through October 2022:

  • Alabama
  • District of Columbia
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

For further details, updates and to distinguish which benefits have been extended in your state, be sure to visit the USDA page for emergency allotments.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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