INDIANAPOLIS — About a week ago, the state’s public health emergency ended after being in place for nearly two years.
House Bill 1001 gave the governor the ability to sign the declaration on Thursday.
At the same time, that bill cut off enhanced Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for thousands of Hoosiers.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the federal government has allowed families receiving SNAP benefits to get the maximum amount, but that extra funding will now end in Indiana on April 16, despite the federal program continuing until June.
John Elliott, president and CEO of Gleaners Food Bank, said it’s a change that is more government-driven than reflective of the reality currently facing Hoosier families.
“The Senate passage of HB1001 with a devastating provision to end SNAP emergency allotments at the end of the current health emergency on April 16, 2022, could not have come at a worse time for our neighbors facing food insecurity,” Elliott said. “It was disappointing.”
The latest numbers from the Indiana Family & Social Services Administration show that in January, more than 607,000 Hoosiers were receiving SNAP benefits. On Thursday alone, Gleaners was serving several thousand households.
“As soon as the government programs fluctuate, we can see the immediate effect in longer and shorter lines at several thousand locations across the state of Indiana, and a third of those are supported by Gleaners,” Elliott said.
He said the cutoff of emergency assistance comes at a time when food inflation is also skyrocketing.
“It’s one trigger at a time that’s been piling on these households, and now the price of food and the price of fuel have both hit those families hard,” said Elliott.
It’s an impact that’s also hitting Gleaners and other food banks as they deal with longer lines, supply chain issues, higher operating costs and a shortage of workers and volunteers.
“So it’s a double hit, impact on neighbors and impact on Gleaners’ budget,” Elliott said.
Click here for more information about SNAP, the program that provides food assistance to low- and no-income people and families.
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