SNAP Benefits Increased for More Than 420,000 Pennsylvanians

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

PENNSYLVANIA — Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) Acting Secretary Meg Snead recently highlighted updates to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, that expanded eligibility for Pennsylvanians in need of food assistance.

Effective October 1, Pennsylvania increased the 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 to help pay for groceries like fresh produce, meats, dairy, and other groceries. “I strongly encourage Pennsylvanians not currently using this program to apply and see if SNAP can help them make a little extra room in their monthly budget,” said Snead.

DHS is able to expand SNAP eligibility through Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility (BBCE) for the program. 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:

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.

SNAP is accepted at grocery stores, food retailers, and certain farmers markets across Pennsylvania, including at North Side Farmers Market and 14 other farmers markets around the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. These partnerships directly support businesses and retailers in Pennsylvania to help lower-income and working adults and families access fresh, nutritious, and locally-sourced foods. For more information about farmers markets running throughout the year that accept SNAP in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, click here.

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.

For 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.

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