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Extra emergency SNAP benefits to expire for thousands of Oklahomans

 Fruit on display in a supermarket grocery store.
Fruit on display in a supermarket grocery store.

Food costs are going to get even harder to deal with for hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans as another pandemic-related break for low-income earners and families comes to an end.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as SNAP or food stamps, has been giving families a little more help for the past three years. Each month, anyone using the benefit would have about $100 more to spend on groceries.

But when Congress passed its $1.7 trillion spending bill last year, lawmakers nixed the extra benefit. The Oklahoma Department of Human Services, which administers the federal program for the state, is telling families to prepare for the drop, which begins on March 1.

“The agency knows these additional benefits have been critical to meeting the needs of Oklahomans during such difficult times,” said Deb Smith, Director of Adult and Family Services. “We want to give families as much time as we can to plan to ease the transition into the end of the emergency allotments. We can also make connections to a host of wonderful community partners who stand in the gaps for our customers to offer help.”

In fiscal year 2022, more than 850,000 Oklahomans used the benefits. During that time, the average benefit was about $7 per person per day. That works out to about $2.36 per meal.

Catherine Sweeney was StateImpact Oklahoma's health reporter from 2020 to 2023.
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