Elmsford, N.Y. (February 28, 2023) – Westchester families, seniors, and individuals receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will experience a minimum reduction of $95.00 in their monthly benefit amount, with some households experiencing a much higher reduction, up to $250 a month, beginning in March.
This will be a significant loss of food assistance for the over 74,000 people in Westchester who participate in SNAP, leaving many to struggle to afford nutritious food and pay other bills. This devastating loss is coming on top of a sharp year-over-year increase in the cost of food and utilities, which has already led to more people seeking emergency food from Feeding Westchester and our partners than this time last year.
A senior in Westchester County who is receiving SNAP benefits expressed her concern over this significant negative impact on her ability to buy food: “How [can they] expect me to live on $23? What can I buy for a whole month?”
Since March 2020, Congress temporarily increased SNAP benefits because of the COVID-19 public health emergency to address food insecurity challenges exacerbated by the pandemic. These increased benefits will end after February 2023 and return to pre-pandemic levels in March. The reduction in SNAP benefits is a result of a federal policy change (due to cuts in the 2023 Omnibus spending bill), not because of changes to individual SNAP cases.
Older adults, who are typically part of smaller households and receive the minimum benefit level, will likely feel these cuts the hardest. The national anti-hunger organization, Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), estimates that seniors will see their allotments fall from $281 to pre-pandemic levels, just $23 per month.
These extra benefits have been a lifeline for families who are already struggling with high costs of food and increased utility bills. With this dramatic decrease in benefits, there will be more pressure on Feeding Westchester and their partners when they are already dealing with long lines and higher fuel and food prices due to inflation. In fact, 80% of Feeding Westchester’s partners said they are already feeding more people and serving more food this year than last year. The emergency allotments have already ended last May in Georgia and Feeding America member, Atlanta Community Food Bank, saw an increase in visits of about 34% from July through December compared to the same period the previous year.
Feeding Westchester along with their partners are doing everything they can to prepare SNAP recipients for the decrease in benefits, alert them to emergency food resources in their communities, and connect them to other services to help them meet their basic needs. If you live in Westchester and need help navigating your SNAP benefits or to connect with other help with food and basic needs, visit https://feedingwestchester.org/find-help/#foodbenefits. If you are able to help bridge this significant gap for the community, visit https://feedingwestchester.org/why-donate/.
About Feeding Westchester
Feeding Westchester serves Westchester County, providing food to a hunger-relief network of more than 300 partners and programs. With a mission to nourish their neighbors in the fight against hunger, the organization sources and distributes good, nutritious food and other resources to wherever it is needed most.
In fiscal year 2022, Feeding Westchester provided more than 19 million pounds of food equivalent to nearly 16 million meals through soup kitchens, food pantries, schools, shelters, residential programs, and mobile distributions. That fed 200,000 people – including children, seniors, veterans, and hardworking families – every month. The nonprofit, a 4-star Charity Navigator organization, is committed to creating a community where all people have access to the food they need today, and the fundamental resources to build a better tomorrow.
Feeding Westchester is located at 200 Clearbrook Road, Elmsford, NY 10523. For more information, visit feedingwestchester.org.
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