Texas

Texans face cuts in food aid as Congress ends aid in pandemic era

Austin. With food prices skyrocketing, millions of Texans who rely on federal food aid will see their benefits cut by March.

The pandemic-era policy that gave low-income families at least $95 a month to buy groceries is ending. Over the past month, more than 2.2 million Texas households have received emergency benefits, according to the state Health and Human Services Commission.

The cuts to SNAP payments, also known as food stamps, are expected to put more pressure on families and local food banks, which are facing rising demand as inflation pushes prices higher.

“You see people struggling to do more with less, and this latest loss of benefits is going to be a big hardship,” said Celia Cole, CEO of Feeding Texas, the state association of food banks.

After authorizing an increase in food aid at the start of the pandemic, Congress voted to end emergency relief earlier than many expected as part of a spending package passed in December. The savings will help pay for an ongoing initiative to make food more affordable during the summer for children who receive free or reduced-price school meals. Washington Post.

While Cole welcomed the new program as a way to prevent child hunger, she said the end of the Supplemental Food Assistance emergency will be difficult as families face rising rents, utilities and food costs.

“All these things hit low-income families hard,” she said.

While more than a dozen states have already waived additional SNAP payments, Gov. Greg Abbott continues to renew them month after month. Texans have received more than $9.3 billion in emergency food aid since April 2020, according to his office.

February is the last month. Thereafter, monthly SNAP benefits will be reduced by at least $95, although state officials have said the amount could be higher depending on family size and income level.

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