Mar 28, 2022 - News

Thousands of Iowans will lose boosted food stamp benefits in April

Illustration of a lunch tray with its compartments in the shape of a sad face. 
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Federal food assistance that expanded at the beginning of the pandemic will return to normal levels in Iowa on Friday.

Why it matters: The change means at least $95 a month less for more than 150,000 Iowa households that receive assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also referred to as food stamps.

  • It comes at a time when wages aren't keeping pace with inflation and rising costs, which is hurting low-income families the hardest, Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) CEO Matt Unger tells Axios.

Catch up fast: Since March 2020, SNAP benefits were bolstered as part of the federal government's COVID-19 assistance to states with active emergency or disaster pandemic declarations.

The big picture: Prices for many foods have dramatically increased in recent months, in part because of supply chain issues, labor shortages and growing transportation costs.

Zoom in: A five-ounce can of chicken nearly doubled to $1.05 between March of 2019 and Monday for organizers of the metro's food pantry network, Unger said.

  • The staple food's price jump exemplifies changes across many products, he said.

What's ahead: Des Moines' food network anticipates an increase in need in the coming days.

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