SNAP Funding in Indiana: House Bill 1001’s Benefit Increase Ends on April 16.

On Thursday, Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a measure that would end the enhanced federal food help that thousands of Indiana residents have received for nearly two years.

Indiana residents participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), often known as food stamps, have been able to receive the full SNAP amount for their family size since April 2020, because of federal COVID-19 emergency money.

These benefits will be terminated on April 16th as a result of House Bill 1001, which Holcomb signed late on Thursday afternoon. This round of benefits was supposed to last for 30 days after the state’s emergency designation was lifted, which happens to be this Friday.

The Senate approved the law on Tuesday, and the House of Representatives voted to ratify it on Thursday afternoon.

Indiana’s emergency designation was lifted in November, but only if lawmakers agreed to keep three pandemic measures in place: increased money for Medicaid and SNAP, and exemptions for children ages 5 to 11.

Earlier this week, Holcomb said he hoped for a return to some kind of routine.

In addition to, but not in place of, the prior formula, “we’re reaching a point where we can return to a more typical formula,” Holcomb said. When the pandemic ends and the endemic begins, “we’ll return to those more typical times.”

This week, both hunger relief groups and politicians emphasized their concerns about the pandemic’s consequences on Indiana families, despite the fact that COVID-19 instances had decreased.

After Indiana’s unemployment rate dropped to around 5% in the wake of the epidemic, Sen. Mark Messmer, R-Jasper, claimed the state’s need for further food help was no longer as great as it had been.

SNAP Funding in Indiana: House Bill 1001's Benefit Increase Ends on April 16.

According to Indianapolis Sen. Greg Taylor, he “struggled enormously” with the argument, noting that a large percentage of SNAP beneficiaries in the state are employed, which contradicts his assertion.

Taylor remarked, “There are more folks that need our support.”

Advocate: ‘Hoosiers are being pressured from every angle.'”

People who depend on SNAP assistance in Indiana are fewer now than they were prior to the epidemic but are nevertheless higher than they were.

According to the Family and Social Services Administration, approximately 607,800 Indiana residents received SNAP benefits totaling $151,552,964 in January. According to the SNAP enrollment figures for March 2020, there were 566,214 Hoosiers in the program. The next month, enrollment increased to 626,860 students.

“It’s not the right moment to cut back on this vital program that helps people in Indiana get the food they need.” Feeding Indiana’s Hungry executive director Emily Weikert Bryant said in a written statement on Tuesday that “Hoosiers are still being pressed from all sides.” Hoosiers and food banks are feeling the effects of inflation, notably in food, gas, and rent, as well as utility and other expenditures.

Indiana Community Action Poverty Institute director Jessica Fraser also slammed the provision.

Together with other recovery efforts, SNAP emergency allotments saved our most vulnerable families from financial ruin.” “A formal statement from Fraser was sent out on Tuesday.

“Efforts to recover from the pandemic have come to an end, but families that were already struggling prior to the outbreak are still at risk. The sooner you cut off funding, the more things will become worse.”

Indy Hunger Network’s executive director, Kate Howe, told IndyStar that while SNAP benefits have traditionally not fulfilled the complete needs of the families they help, the maximum amount has reduced some of their financial load, freeing them time and finances to address other areas of need. Howe said.

It’s so that people may spend their money on other necessities because their SNAP payments are going further and covering more of their food needs.

Maximum allotments have alleviated some of the strain on hunger relief groups that were already stretched thin when the epidemic first struck Indiana. The maximum allotments. Between February and June 2020, the Indy Hunger Network discovered that the number of people receiving food assistance doubled, but the number of people in need tripled.

Hunger is a recurring problem in Marion County. Over the course of a week, 25 percent of Indianapolis citizens in need of help skipped meals, according to the annual Hunger Study conducted by the Indy Hunger Network.

Families would be forced to reevaluate their plans if the maximum allotment were not available.

“There’s really no slack in their budget, to begin with when folks make low enough income to qualify for SNAP,” she added. It’s more likely that people may turn to food pantries, hot meal sites, and meal programs over the summer to supplement their diets, rather than relying on a single source.

For some families, that’s a lot more stress.

As Howe put it, “If you’re working or raising kids or whatever else, it simply makes getting adequate food for your family like an extra task.”

What’s ahead for Indiana’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)?

An increase in household maximums of 5% and a 20% increase in the budget of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Thrifty Food Plan, which is the foundation for benefit calculations, will keep SNAP payments from returning to pre-pandemic levels.

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Until the end of September 2022, the following are the maximums per household:

1: $250
2: $459
3: $658
4: $835
5: $992
6: $1,190
7: $1,316
8: $1,504
Each additional person: add $188

USDA estimates that the Thrifty Food Plan, which has not seen substantial updates since the 1970s except occasional cost-of-living adjustments, may provide an additional $298 million in benefits to Indiana this fiscal year.

Are you in need of food aid?

This app from the Indy Hunger Network, available for free in the App Store and Google Play, shows you where you can get free meals and groceries, as well as information on whether you qualify for government aid programs like SNAP.

A text message of “hello” to 317-434-3758 will connect you with a representative if you do not have a smartphone. About a dozen languages are supported, including Spanish and Burmese.