Mar 6, 2023 - News

Millions in Illinois hit by end of enhanced SNAP benefits

Illustration of a bag of groceries and money.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Extra food assistance benefits put into place during the pandemic ended nationwide last week.

Why it matters: The change cut monthly benefits to nearly 2 million Illinoisans — about 16% of the state — who received the aid known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Catch up quick: Since March 2020, pandemic emergency allotments have allowed SNAP households to receive at least an extra $95 a month.

  • Starting this month, they went back to receiving the previous allotment determined by income and household size.

Zoom in: More than 67% of Illinois SNAP households have children and more than 30% include older adults or people with disabilities, according to an analysis of 2020 data by the Illinois Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Threat level: The switch could strain already-strapped local food banks amid inflation.

Some help: The Greater Chicago Food Depository set up a website and hotline to help people understand the change and what options they have.

  • State officials also urge recipients to update their information here to make sure they are receiving the maximum benefits.

What they're saying: "We understand and recognize that many Illinois residents have counted on these additional emergency food benefits to secure healthy food for themselves and their families," Grace B. Hou, secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services, said in a press release.

  • "We are working with our food pantry partners across the state to meet residents' needs during this adjustment period."

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