Thousands of Iowans will lose boosted food stamp benefits in April
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.
- Gov. Kim Reynolds ended Iowa's public health emergency proclamation in February, following the actions of dozens of other states.
- March served as a "transition month" for Iowa's SNAP recipients to ready for the drop in benefits, come April.
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.
- Food inflation rates are projected to reach a 14-year high in 2022, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates released last week.
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.
- DMARC is welcoming donations, Unger said.
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