Who’s Getting Extra Food Stamps

Millions facing food insecurity in the United States receive additional benefits via Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps. Due to the impact of COVID-19, in 2020 the government increased food stamp benefits and expanded eligibility criteria. This temporary measure has provided essential support to low-income families struggling to make ends meet. However, as the country recovers from the pandemic, many are concerned about potential cuts to food stamp benefits, which could have severe consequences for those already facing financial hardships.

Pandemic-Era Assistance: Who’s Getting Extra Food Stamps?

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a sharp increase in food insecurity across the United States, leading to a significant expansion of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Here’s an overview of who’s receiving extra food stamps during these challenging times:

Emergency Allowances:

In response to the economic distress caused by the pandemic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has implemented various emergency measures to provide additional food assistance to eligible individuals and families:

  • Maximum Benefit Increase: The maximum SNAP benefit amount has been temporarily increased to the highest level allowed by law.
  • Emergency Allotments: Emergency allotments are additional SNAP benefits provided to all participating households, regardless of their income or household size.
  • Extended Eligibility: States have been granted flexibility to extend SNAP eligibility for households that would otherwise face termination due to changes in income or household composition.

Eligibility Criteria:

To be eligible for extra food stamps during the pandemic, individuals and families must meet certain criteria, including:

  • Income Limits: Households must meet specific income limits based on their household size and composition.
  • Asset Limits: Households must also meet certain asset limits, which vary depending on household size and composition.
  • Residency Requirements: Individuals must be U.S. citizens or qualified non-citizens and reside in a state or U.S. territory that participates in SNAP.

Application Process:

To apply for extra food stamps, individuals and families can:

  • Online: Many states offer online SNAP applications through their respective state agencies’ websites.
  • By Mail: Application forms can be obtained by mail from local SNAP offices or downloaded from the USDA’s website.
  • In-Person: Applicants can also apply in person at their local SNAP office.

Table: State-by-State SNAP Participation Rates:

SNAP Participation Rates by State
StateSNAP Participation Rate

Note: The table shows a snapshot of SNAP participation rates by state as of March 2023. Actual rates may vary over time.

Several states and counties have expanded access to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to help individuals and families cope with economic challenges.

SNAP Expansions Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Nationwide Emergency Allotments:

    From April 2020 through January 2023, eligible SNAP households received an additional $95 per month in SNAP benefits due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This emergency benefit ended in February 2023.

  • State-Level Expansions:

    Several states have provided additional SNAP benefits beyond the federal emergency allotments. Specific expansions varied by state and may have included:

    • Increased benefit amounts
    • Expanded eligibility criteria
    • Simplified application processes

Current SNAP Expansions

While some pandemic-related SNAP expansions have ended, some states and counties continue to offer enhanced SNAP benefits. Here are a few examples:

  • California:

    California continues to provide emergency allotments of $40 per month to households enrolled in CalFresh, the state’s SNAP program.

  • Oregon:

    Oregon has expanded SNAP eligibility to include college students who meet certain criteria.

  • New York City:

    New York City provides a monthly SNAP benefit supplement to low-income households called the City Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (CSNAP).

How to Find Out if You’re Eligible

To find out if you’re eligible for SNAP benefits and the amount of benefits you may receive, you can:

Table: State SNAP Expansions

CaliforniaEmergency allotments of $40 per month
OregonExpanded eligibility to include college students
New York CityCity Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (CSNAP) supplement

Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) Benefits

The Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program was created to help families with children who are temporarily unable to receive free or reduced-price school meals due to school closures or disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic. P-EBT benefits are not an expansion of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is commonly known as food stamps. Rather, P-EBT is a separate program that provides benefits to children who are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals regardless of their SNAP participation status.

P-EBT benefits are provided on an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card, which can be used to purchase food at authorized retailers. The amount of P-EBT benefits that a child receives is based on the number of days that the child was eligible for free or reduced-price school meals during the period of school closure or disruption.

Eligible Children

  • Children who are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals under the National School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program
  • Children who attend a school that participates in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) or Provision 2
  • Children who are enrolled in an eligible Head Start or Early Head Start program
  • Children who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals under the At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program or Summer Food Service Program

How to Apply

In most states, P-EBT benefits are automatically provided to eligible children. Families do not need to apply for P-EBT benefits. However, in some states, families may need to submit an application to receive P-EBT benefits. Families should contact their state’s education agency or the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to determine if they need to apply for P-EBT benefits.

How much will Eligible Families Receive:

StateBenefit Amount per Child

To find out more about P-EBT benefits in your state, visit the USDA FNS website or contact your state’s education agency.

Assistance for Individuals and Families

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, is a federal program that provides food assistance to low-income individuals and families. SNAP benefits can be used to purchase food at authorized retailers. Due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals and families have been approved for extra SNAP benefits. This article provides an overview of who is eligible for extra SNAP benefits and how to apply for them.

Eligibility for Extra SNAP Benefits

To be eligible for extra SNAP benefits, individuals and families must meet certain requirements. These requirements include:

  • Being a U.S. citizen or qualified non-citizen.
  • Meeting income and asset limits.
  • Living in a SNAP-eligible state or county.
  • Being unemployed or underemployed.
  • Experiencing a temporary financial hardship.

The income and asset limits for SNAP vary by state and household size. In general, households with incomes below 130% of the federal poverty level and assets below $2,250 for individuals and $3,250 for couples are eligible for SNAP benefits. However, states may have higher income and asset limits for households with children or other special circumstances.

How to Apply for Extra SNAP Benefits

To apply for extra SNAP benefits, individuals and families can contact their local SNAP office. The SNAP office will provide an application form and instructions on how to complete it. The application form will ask for information about the household’s income, assets, and expenses. The SNAP office will review the application and determine if the household is eligible for extra SNAP benefits.

Amount of Extra SNAP Benefits

The amount of extra SNAP benefits a household receives depends on the household’s size and income. The maximum amount of extra SNAP benefits a household can receive is $250 per month for a household of one person, $400 per month for a household of two people, and $600 per month for a household of three or more people.

Extra SNAP Benefits
Household SizeMaximum Extra SNAP Benefits
1 person$250 per month
2 people$400 per month
3 or more people$600 per month


Extra SNAP benefits can provide much-needed food assistance to individuals and families who are struggling financially. These benefits can help to ensure that people have enough to eat and that they are able to maintain a healthy diet. If you think you may be eligible for extra SNAP benefits, please contact your local SNAP office to apply.

Hey folks, thanks for sticking with me all the way to the end. I know this was a lot of information to take in, but I hope you now have a better understanding of who’s getting extra food stamps and why. If you have any other questions, feel free to drop them in the comments below, and I’ll do my best to answer them. In the meantime, be sure to check back later for more updates on this and other important topics. Thanks again for reading!