FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 22, 2022
Wolf Administration Marks Hunger Action Month, Announces Expanded Eligibility for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Benefits
Lancaster, PA – Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Acting Secretary Meg Snead today joined Caryn Long Earl, Director of the Bureau of Food Assistance, Department of Agriculture, Jane Clements, Chief Executive Officer, Feeding PA, Vanessa Philbert, Chief Executive Officer, Community Action Partnership of Lancaster County, Melissa Siwiec, Executive Director, Lancaster Central Market, and Tarrah Barrier, Owner, The Turkey Lady (vendor who accepts SNAP at the market) at the Lancaster Central Market to recognize Hunger Action Month and to announce updates to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, that will expand eligibility for Pennsylvanians in need of food assistance.
Effective October 1, Pennsylvania will increase income threshold for all applicants to 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines (FPIG). With this change, more than 420,000 additional Pennsylvanians and more than 174,000 households will be newly eligible for SNAP and will receive, on average, $63 a month.
“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 meals isn’t a given. SNAP helps make that possible,” said Snead. “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.”
Beginning on October 1, 2022, DHS will expand Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility (BBCE) for SNAP. While SNAP is a federal program and SNAP benefits are funded through the federal budget, states administer eligibility and issuance of benefits. BBCE is a policy that gives states, including Pennsylvania, the flexibility to determine appropriate income thresholds and extend SNAP benefits to low-income families and individuals who would otherwise struggle to afford food. DHS currently uses BBCE flexibility to set income thresholds to 160 percent of the FPIG for households that do not have elderly or disabled members.
With this change, the household monthly income limits for all households to be eligible for SNAP are as follows:
|200 % FPIG|
|Each additional member||$788|
“This expansion comes a pivotal time when temporary COVID relief has ended but the price of food is skyrocketing. CAP provides vital support and infrastructure to over 40 pantries in Lancaster county. We’ve been seeing a steady rise in food pantries visits across the county over the past few 6 months. Many of these families are above the current SNAP income threshold but they are still struggling with food insecurity. Lancaster has a strong network of partners committed to addressing food insecurity through the Hunger-Free Lancaster Coalition. CAP has been involved in the coalition since its inception 6 years ago with the mission to build a hunger-free Lancaster County by creating a nutritious, accessible, and sustainable food system. Strengthening nutrition assistance benefits such as SNAP, WIC, school meal programs, is the most effective way to tackle hunger and promote health,” says Vanessa Philbert.
“This policy change will support families in making healthy food choices within a limited budget. By raising the income threshold we can support low-income families burdened by high expenses, such as childcare and medical expenses. Additionally, families won’t lose out on valuable support when they get a small raise or additional hours at work. This expansion will help to put food on the table for more families and make PA a healthier place for everyone.
As the Lancaster provider of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), CAP knows that together with SNAP and WIC we can increase food security for families with pregnant women and young children. When these important food security programs work together we can multiply the impact of health, nutrition, and supportive services with eligible low-income families with children. This is aligned to CAP’s move to a whole family/2gen approach that focuses on supporting the entire family system simultaneously to move families out of poverty.”
September is National Hunger Action Month. According to Feeding Pennsylvania, more than 2 million Pennsylvanians experience chronic hunger and food insecurity every day, including one in seven children. Programs like SNAP and charitable food networks around the commonwealth help working adults, people with disabilities, older adults, and children access food and expand their purchasing power so they do not have to choose between paying for a doctor’s appointment or being able to eat dinner. Inadequate food and chronic nutrient deficiencies have profound effects on a person’s life and health, including increased risks for chronic diseases, higher chances of hospitalization, poorer overall health, and increased health care costs.
SNAP 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. SNAP is our country’s most important and most impactful anti-hunger program. For every meal provided by a Feeding Pennsylvania food bank, SNAP provides nine.
Applications for SNAP and other public assistance programs can be submitted online at www.compass.state.pa.us. SNAP and Medicaid applications are accepted by phone by calling the Consumer Service Center at 1-866-550-4355. On-site County Assistance Office (CAO) services are available if clients cannot access online services or need assistance that cannot be accessed through the COMPASS website, the myCOMPASS PA mobile app, or by calling the Customer Service Centers at 215-560-7226 for Philadelphia clients or 1-877-395-8930 for clients in all other counties.
Additional information about food assistance resources for people around Pennsylvania impacted by COVID-19 and economic insecurity, visit the Department of Agriculture’s food security guide.
MEDIA CONTACT: Brandon Cwalina, DHS – email@example.com
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