April 1, 2021

On March 31, attorneys representing Pennsylvania Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants secured an important victory when the Biden administration abandoned the Trump administration’s opposition to Families First SNAP Emergency Assistance going to the lowest income households already at the maximum benefit levels.  

As a result of the settlement, Pennsylvania will have $700 million in federal SNAP benefits to distribute to SNAP households due to extra payments since a court injunction was entered in September 2020. 

“We are so pleased that USDA is revisiting this issue so that people across the country can receive the help they need,” said Louise Hayes, Supervising Attorney at Community Legal Services. “Over 650,000 households in Pennsylvania—including seniors, people with disabilities and families with children—will finally be getting the extra SNAP they were previously denied. The pandemic has greatly increased hunger, and this will help parents put food on the table for their children.”

A forthcoming United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) policy guidance is expected to address how these payments will be handled in the future in other states. This is in keeping with the Executive Order President Biden issued on January 22 directing USDA to review the Families First payments.