Nearly 400,000 Alabama households losing pandemic-era food stamp benefits in March

SNAP benefits generic graphic
SNAP benefits generic graphic
Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 6:20 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 1, 2023 at 10:52 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Nearly 400,000 Alabama households will have their food stamps cut by as much as $170 beginning next month.

It is because the emergency allotments for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that were put in place during the pandemic are coming to an end in March. They were meant to give lower-income families a financial boost.

That additional $95 is going away in March and SNAP benefit amounts will return to normal.

The new government spending bill ends the program for Alabama and over 25 other states where emergency allotments exist through February.

Executive Director of The Care Center Andrea Bridges worries the cuts will mean it will be harder for them to help out, and families will have to make tough decisions.

“We already have neighbors who a lot of times they have to make the decision between buying medications or buying food,” Bridges said.

Now with less money to play with, many families will have to make do with less. That is something that is not lost on Brandon Hardin, the Food Assistance Director of Alabama. He says local food banks in other states are already feeling the pinch.

“The states that had transitioned off of this several months ago did see an increase in some of their food pantries,” Hardin explained.

That is exactly what Andrea Bridges is worried about. She’s worried their food supply in New Hope will take more of a hit, and the SNAP cuts come as inflation is hitting many Americans where it hurts.

“Already, we are seeing a need from those families to help with toiletries and items like that, that are not covered under the SNAP benefits,” Bridges said. “We have already seen our numbers of neighbors coming to our food pantry increase, and our shelves are a little bare right now. We usually do not have any bare shelves.”

Hardin explains the emergency allotments allowed many families to stock up in a healthy way on their basic needs as well as getting healthy fruits and vegetables.

Bridges explains those who will likely be impacted most by the SNAP cuts. “The majority of the people we see in our food pantry are elderly who have a very fixed income and single parents who have multiple children and they just need a little extra help to get to the end of the month,” Bridges said.

Alabama Department of Human Resources leaders say more than 725,000 of the state’s residents receive food stamps.

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