An additional 420,000 Pennsylvanians will qualify for food aid starting Saturday

  • Kate Giamares/Wissa

On May 3, 2017, the photo shows a display of fruit at the Whole Foods grocery store in Upper Saint Clair, Pennsylvania.

Jane J. Buscar / AP Photo

On May 3, 2017, the photo shows a display of fruit at the Whole Foods grocery store in Upper Saint Clair, Pennsylvania.

Donna Strejcek works full time in medical billing from her home in Pitcairn, where she is also raising her teenage grandson. Food cost due to inflation recently pushed her to enroll in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps.

“A lot of people a lot of people are really struggling. She told me.”

Food costs for her “are unrealistic. The price of food is unrealistic,” she said.

Until recently, she would have earned too much to qualify for the benefit, but as of Saturday, an additional 420,000 Pennsylvanians will qualify for food assistance.

The Strajcek family is exactly the kind of family that help is intended.

“I struggle to get from one paycheck to the next,” she said. “I mean, I don’t get paid badly. It was livable, say, a few years ago. I didn’t have a problem with food. Now I find myself between groceries and utilities, and I can’t seem to make it pay from batch to batch. I’m lacking in groceries.” “.

State human service officials are changing the income threshold to qualify for SNAP from 160% of the federal poverty guidelines to 200% — about $4,626 a month for a family of four.

“Expanding SNAP eligibility allows us to extend the deferment period for people who may be experiencing difficulties so that we can help more Pennsylvanians meet this most important need that actually drives us to live, work, grow and thrive,” Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Executive Vice Secretary Andrew Barnes said in A statement announcing the change earlier this month.

Kate Snape Sign Pennsylvania graph.PNG

Benefits are federally funded but the program is administered by the states.

Newly eligible families will receive, on average, $63 in assistance per month.

In addition, families will also receive an additional amount of assistance as long as the declaration of public health emergency related to Covid is in effect.

More than 1.8 million Pennsylvanians are enrolled in the program. According to state statistics, SNAP enrollment at the state level is about 8% higher than it was before the start of the pandemic.

“With the losses from the pandemic and inflation, every day we get calls from people who work in low-paying jobs, are elderly or disabled and have a stable income. They are forced to make terrible choices about what they can spend their money on: shelter or childcare. “They are limiting what they eat because they can’t afford groceries,” Pittsburgh-based anti-hunger organization Just Harvest said in a statement. poverty line directly to be able to qualify for some assistance.”

To learn more about whether you qualify for SNAP: Or call the Consumer Service Center at 1-866-550-4355.

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