Pennsylvania Expands SNAP Eligibility to Help More Than 420,000 Residents in Need

SNAPChief Executive Officer, Feeding PA, Jane Clements speaks at Thursdays press conference (Credit: Commonwealth Media Services)

PENNSYLVANIA — In recognition of Hunger Action Month, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services has announced updates to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. The updated program will expand eligibility for Pennsylvanians in need of food assistance. Effective October 1, Pennsylvania will increase the income threshold for all applicants to 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines (FPIG). This change will make more than 420,000 additional Pennsylvanians eligible for SNAP and will provide them with, on average, $63 a month.

This expansion of SNAP is an important step in fighting hunger in Pennsylvania. With this increase in eligibility, more residents will be able to access the food assistance they need to help make ends meet. This is especially important as we enter into the winter months and families are faced with higher heating bills and other increased expenses. No one should have to worry about where their next meal is coming from, and this expansion will help to ensure that more Pennsylvanians are able to put food on the table.

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 Barnes. “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.”

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“No one should go to bed hungry, and these updates to SNAP will help in the fight to eliminate hunger. More families will gain access to the fresh, nutritious foods they need,” said Caryn Long Earl, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Director of the Bureau of Food Assistance. “In addition to SNAP benefits, Pennsylvanians experiencing food insecurity can access programs including the Farmers Market Nutrition ProgramPennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System ProgramSenior Food Box Program, and more. If you are hungry, there are programs to help.”

“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.”

“We know that thriving families create thriving communities, however, families cannot thrive if they do not have adequate food resources available to them,” said Vanessa Philbert, Chief Executive Officer of Community Action Partnership of Lancaster County. “Expanding access to nutritious food increases the health of the entire community and enhances prosperity for everyone.”

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.

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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 
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.

If you or someone you know may be eligible for SNAP, please visit the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services website or call your local county assistance office for more information.

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