Wolf Administration Marks Hunger Action Month by Expanding Eligibility for SNAP Benefits, Securing Food Assistance for More Pennsylvanians

Lancaster, PA – Andrew Barnes, Executive Deputy Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, joined the PA Department of Agriculture, the Feeding PA, the Lancaster County Community Action Partnership and others at Lancaster Central Market today for a celebration of Hunger Action Month and updates of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Grocery Stamps, expanding eligibility for Pennsylvanians in need of food assistance.

Effective October 1, Pennsylvania will raise the income threshold for all applicants to 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines (FPIG). With this change, more than 420,000 additional Pennsylvanians in more than 174,000 households will become newly eligible for SNAP, earning an average of $63 per month.

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

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“No one should go to bed hungry and these updates from SNAP will help in the fight against hunger. More families will have access to the fresh, nutritious foods they need,” said Caryn Long Earl, director of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Food Assistance for the Pennsylvania Nutrition Program, Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System Program, Senior Food Box Program and more. If you are hungry, there are aid programs.”

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

“We know that thriving families create thriving communities, but families cannot thrive without adequate food resources,” said Vanessa Philbert, chief executive officer of Lancaster County’s Community Action Partnership. “Expanding access to nutritious food improves the health of the entire community and increases prosperity for all.”

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Effective October 1, 2022, DHS is expanding Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility (BBCE) for SNAP. While SNAP is a federal program and SNAP benefits are funded from the federal budget, the states administer the eligibility and delivery of benefits. BBCE is a policy that gives states, including Pennsylvania, the flexibility to set reasonable income thresholds and expand SNAP benefits to low-income families and individuals who would otherwise struggle to afford groceries. DHS is currently using the BBCE flexibility to set income thresholds at 160 per cent of the FPIG for households that do not have elderly or disabled members.

With this change, the monthly household income limits for all households eligible for SNAP are as follows:

September is National Hunger Action Month. According to Feeding Pennsylvania, more than 2 million people in Pennsylvania suffer from chronic hunger and food insecurity every day, including one in seven children. Programs like SNAP and food network charities across the Commonwealweal help working adults, people with disabilities, older adults and children access food and increase their spending power so they don’t have to choose between paying for a doctor’s appointment or eating out. Inadequate nutrition and chronic nutrient deficiencies have profound effects on an individual’s life and health, including increased risk of chronic disease, greater likelihood of hospitalization, poorer overall health, and increased healthcare costs.

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SNAP serves more than 1.8 million Pennsylvanians by providing money for groceries each month and helping households buy enough groceries to avoid starvation. SNAP is our nation’s most important and effective anti-hunger program. For every meal provided by a Feeding Pennsylvania food bank, SNAP provides nine.

Applications for SNAP and other public assistance programs can be submitted online at www.compass.state.pa.us. SNAP and Medicaid applications are accepted over the phone by calling the Consumer Service Center at 1-866-550-4355. Local County Assistance Office (CAO) services are available when customers do not have access to online services or require assistance that is not available through the COMPASS website, the myCOMPASS PA mobile app, or by calling customer service centers at 215 -560-7226 can be accessed for Philadelphia customers or 1-877-395-8930 for customers in all other counties.

For more information on food aid resources for people in Pennsylvania affected by COVID-19 and economic insecurity, see the Department of Agriculture’s Food Security Guide.

MEDIA CONTACT: Brandon Cwalina – [email protected]

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