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420,000 Pennsylvanians will be eligible for SNAP Benefits starting Oct. 1

Relief for families that are in the 200% of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines will come this week.

YORK, Pa. — Inflation has driven up the cost of groceries, and families in Pennsylvania are trying to make ends meet. 

Relief for families that are in the 200% of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines will come this week.

Starting Oct. 1, the income threshold for people applying for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)  will expand to cover 420,000 Pennsylvanians in more than 174,000 households who will be newly eligible for SNAP and are expected to receive, on average, $63 a month. 

Food banks have been at the forefront of the pandemic and during the economic crisis, millions of Americans now face. New Hope Ministries owns and operates a food bank that aids hundreds of people. Erica Saunders, Executive Director at New Hope Ministries says the expansion is welcomed by all food banks. 

“We’re seeing dozens if not hundreds of families coming to our food pantry who have never had to seek food assistance before just because it’s become a much bigger challenge. This new SNAP Program just gives us another tool to help families fight hunger,” said Saunders. 

Part of New Hope Ministries' mission as a non-profit organization is to fight food insecurity and the problem of hunger. Recently, they received an award from the Central Pennsylvania food bank for their effort in helping people apply for SNAP Benefits. 

Saunders said the food bank has seen an increase in people who need food assistance. While families are at the shelter, Saunders said they often ask people about their eligibility for SNAP and WIC to make sure they know resources are available. 

“The federal poverty guidelines have not changed and the benefits people have been receiving or the assistance has not gone up in proportions,” said Saunders. “So we’ve got a lot more people facing food insecurity right now, and making an entire group of people across Pennsylvania eligible to receive this certain food assistance is going to help make sure kids are not going hungry at night.” 

FOX43 was able to get in touch with a senior who says she was forced into retirement due to medical issues and now utilizes SNAP to make ends meet. 

Juanita Lewis, a SNAP recipient, says the cost of grocery and the economy makes her feel like she’s in survival mode. 

“You have to make a choice between whether you’re going to make a payment for your medication, even if it’s just a copayment, or if you go and buy food or if…you gotta rob Peter to pay Paul,” said Lewis. 

She added, “With the SNAP Program that relieves up a lot now, it’s just I have to worry about paper products or cleaning products, and right now, a lot of the food banks are helping you with that.”

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.

With this change, the household monthly income limits for all households to be eligible for SNAP are as follows: 

Household Size     200 % FPIG

      1                          $2,266

      2                          $3,052

      3                          $3,840

      4                          $4,626

      5                          $5,412

      6                          $6,200

      7                          $6,986

      8                          $7,772

      9                         $8,560

     10                         $9,348

Each additional member   $788

Lewis said no one should be ashamed for asking for help, and if someone else needs help to pass along the information. 

“A lot of times you have that pride in you where you don’t want to do this but you have to in order to do this because everybody…you don’t always want to ask family or friends for money or food or something like that and I have utilized the food bank and right now the food banks are awesome,” said Lewis. 

Applications for SNAP and other public assistance programs can be submitted online at www.compass.state.pa.us.

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