As America’s biggest anti-hunger initiative, SNAP was expanded to help the country cope with the pandemic. Now, as the rate of COVID cases decreases, that expansion appears to be winding down, which may indicate a shift towards a new stage in the ongoing public health emergency. If you’ve been receiving extra pandemic-related benefits and your state recently called off its own pandemic health emergency, don’t be surprised if your EBT card is reloaded with a lower amount in May than you’ve gotten used to. Other people might learn this month that they’re eligible for extra benefits for the first time. While many others won’t see any change in their benefits at all. In any case, May is definitely a month where you want to be up to speed on what’s going on with the program and your benefits. So here’s what you need to know. First of all, what are the maximum monthly benefits you can receive. Here on Mad Money Millennial, we like to focus on how to get the most money. Hence the name. The maximum monthly benefits will be the same in May as they have been since last year when President Biden approved the largest cost-of-living adjustment in SNAP history. The following is the most that the SNAP program will be able to pay to a family of four in the month of May.
The 48 contiguous states: $835 Alaska: $1,074-$1,667 Hawaii: $1,573 Guam: $1,231 U.S. Virgin Islands: $1,074
Now if you are one of those people who receives little or no benefits, you might be entitled to more. In March 2020, the CARES Act authorized emergency allotments, which increased the SNAP benefits that kept so many already-struggling recipients afloat at the start of the pandemic. The emergency allotments were calculated by subtracting a household’s base benefits from the maximum benefit. That structure gave the most help to the families getting the least, while those receiving the maximum or close to it weren’t affected at all. On January 22nd, 2021, President Biden issued an executive order that led to the expansion and extension of those Emergency allotments, and many states are still beefing up payments to their residents who receive SNAP benefits. Those who don’t receive benefits or who receive less than $95 per month are eligible for enhanced payments. Those who receive $95 or more will continue to receive their usual benefits. And lastly, I wanted to let you guys know exactly which states have been granted waivers and are still currently participating in the emergency allotment SNAP benefits program. The list is as follows.
Alabama Alaska California Colorado Connecticut Delaware District of Columbia Georgia Guam Hawaii
Illinois Indiana Kansas Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota New Hampshire
New Jersey New York New Mexico North Carolina Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina
Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Virgin Islands Washington West Virginia
Now on April 12th, the Department of Health and Human Services extended the federal public health emergency declaration, which means the federal government will continue funding emergency allotments for the states through at least July 15th. The USDA, however, grants the waivers that make emergency allotments possible only to those states that have issued their own emergency or disaster declarations. In May, just 38 states received waivers, a significant dropoff that signals a winding-down of COVID-related emergency health declarations around the country. Whereas in January, February, March and April, the USDA granted waivers to more than 40 states.
If you’re wondering when in May you can expect to receive your benefits, you’ll find the most important information on your state’s SNAP page despite the fact that the federal government funds the program. Just as the states are responsible for administrating SNAP, it’s the states that determine the payment schedules, as well. In most cases, the schedule is determined by the last numbers of your benefits number or case number, but it varies by state — in some states, EBT cards are reloaded according to Social Security numbers or last names. Some states pay on the first of the month, others in the first few days, others not until the month is almost over, and others stagger payments throughout the month. You can, of course, Google your state’s name and “SNAP” to find your specific state’s page, but the food stamps app Providers, formerly known as Fresh EBT, maintains a useful database of state-by-state information. Just visit Providers.com and navigate to the “EBT in My State” dropdown menu. If you’re a recipient, consider signing up for the app.