Income eligibility for food assistance benefits expanding to reach more Pennsylvanians


More than 420,000 additional Pennsylvanians will be eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits beginning October 1

The State Department of Human Services announced that it is raising the income eligibility thresholds for this program, formerly known as food stamps, from 160% to 200% of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines for all households, not just households with seniors and people with disabilities , as is currently the case.

For now. the higher income threshold only for households with seniors and people with disabilities and the others

This change potentially extends eligibility to more than 174,000 households, allowing them to receive an average of $63 per month in food aid.

“Being able to eat and nourish yourself every day is one of the most important 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 their next meal doesn’t come naturally. SNAP is helping to make that possible,” said Andrew Barnes, deputy chief executive officer of the Department of Human Services, at an event on Thursday recognizing September as Hunger Action Month.

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SNAP already helps more than 1.8 million Pennsylvanians by providing money for groceries each month and helping households buy enough groceries to avoid starvation

“Expanding eligibility for SNAP allows us to give people who may be struggling a breather so we can help more Pennsylvanians meet this vitally important need that literally drives us to live, work, to grow and thrive,” said Barnes.

In addition to SNAP benefits, Pennsylvanians affected by food insecurity can access the Farmers Market Nutrition Program, the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System Program, the Senior Food Box Program and more.

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“While our food banks strive to provide nutritious food to all starving Pennsylvanians, our work is only a fraction of what federal nutrition programs can do. For every meal our food banks serve, 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 the eligibility threshold but still need urgent support to make ends meet.”

SNAP is a federally funded program administered by the states. States have the flexibility to set income eligibility thresholds through the federal broad categorical eligibility policy.

With this change in October, the monthly income limits for all households eligible for SNAP are as follows: $2,266 for one-person households, $3,052 for two-person households, $3,840 for three-person households, $4,626 for four people, $5,412 for five people, $6,200 for six, $6,986 for seven, $7,772 for eight, $8,560 for nine; $9,348 for 10. Limits increase by $788 for each person beyond.

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Applications for SNAP and other public assistance programs can be submitted online at www.compass.state.pa.us, by calling 1-866-550-4355 or by visiting a County Assistance Office.

Jan Murphy can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @JanMurphy.

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