June 17, 2022

Temporary COVID-19 SNAP benefit boosts are slated to end when the U.S. Department of  Health and Human Services (HHS) COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) Declaration is terminated. As a result, calls for congressional action to avert a looming “hunger cliff” are mounting.

On June 9, Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA), Alma Adams (D-NC), Barbara Lee (D-CA), and more than 70 other House members signed a letter to House and Senate leaders warning of the impending harm unless Congress acts.

The letter explained, “Due to the end to [Emergency Allotments] alone, most SNAP participants, on average, are expected to lose $82 per person a month in SNAP benefits. The average SNAP benefit will fall to about a mere $5.40 per person per day.”

In addition, after the PHE sunsets, the temporary suspension of SNAP time limits on certain unemployed and underemployed people, and temporary improvements to college student SNAP access, will end.

The letter from these representatives comes on the heels of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ (USCM) recent approval of a policy resolution that expresses “full support of expanding eligibility and increasing benefit levels of federal nutrition programs, to lift millions of Americans out of poverty or reduce the baleful effects of poverty during this challenging time.”   USCM pointed out that an end to SNAP boosts would leave “millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet … reduce economic activity and hurt grocery stores and local food businesses that have been serving our residents throughout the pandemic; and put additional strain on the non-profit emergency food organizations.” The USCM resolution urged Congress to enact bills “to promote food security and equity in our cities and the nation, both during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.”

Both the USCM resolution and the McGovern-led letter from Members of Congress called for action on three priority SNAP bills: H.R. 4077/S. 2192 to improve SNAP benefit adequacy permanently and provide Puerto Rico a pathway to SNAP, H.R. 1753 to end SNAP time limits, and H.R. 1919/S. 2515  to provide college students with more equitable SNAP access. USCM also urged enactment of H.R. 5227 to lift the five-year residency bar to public benefit many non-citizens face, H.R. 2837/S. 2667 to ease pathways to SNAP for certain formerly incarcerated people, and H.R. 3822/S. 1809 to eliminate asset tests in SNAP and other public benefits programs.

Ways to Elevate a Strengthen SNAP Agenda

  • Join FRAC in calling on Congress to act on a strengthen SNAP agenda to address the hunger cliff.
  • Send an email or share a social media post using FRAC’s Action Network. Thank those representatives who signed the McGovern-led letter.
  • Let your mayor know you appreciate the USCM resolution and mayors’ prioritizing action to end hunger.