May is shaping up to be a watershed moment for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which assists over 41 million people in avoiding food insecurity. SNAP, America’s largest anti-hunger program, was expanded to assist the country in dealing with the pandemic. Now, that expansion appears to be slowing, which could indicate a transition to a new stage in the ongoing public health emergency (PHE).
If you’ve been receiving additional pandemic-related benefits and your state has recently cancelled its own PHE, don’t be surprised if your EBT card is reloaded with a lower amount in May than you’ve become accustomed to. Others may discover this month that they are eligible for additional benefits for the first time. Many others will see no change in their benefits.
In any case, May is a month when you should be up to date on what’s going on with the program and your benefits. Here’s what you should know.
What Are the Most Significant Advantages?
The maximum monthly benefits will remain unchanged in May, as they have been since President Biden approved the largest cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in SNAP history last year. In the month of May, the SNAP program will pay the following amount to a family of four:
- $835 for the 48 contiguous states
- Alaska: $1,074 to $1,667
- $1,573 for Hawaii
- $1,231 Guam
- $1,074 for the US Virgin Islands
If you are receiving few or no benefits, you may be entitled to more.
The CARES Act authorized emergency allotments (EAs) in March 2020, which increased the SNAP benefits that kept so many already-struggling recipients afloat at the beginning of the pandemic. EAs were calculated by deducting a household’s base benefits from its maximum benefit. That structure aided the families receiving the least — those receiving the most or close to it were unaffected.
Find a Checking Account that Fits Your Lifestyle as a Bonus Offer. Customers who open a new checking account will receive a $100 bonus.
President Biden issued an executive order on January 22, 2021, that resulted in the expansion and extension of those EAs, and many states are still beefing up payments to their residents who receive SNAP benefits. Those who do not receive benefits or receive payments of less than $95 per month are eligible for increased payments. Those who receive $95 or more will receive their regular benefits.
Which States Are Still Involved in the EA Program?
The Department of Health and Human Services extended the federal public health emergency declaration on April 12, which means the federal government will continue to fund state EAs until at least July 15.
The USDA, on the other hand, only grants waivers that allow for EAs to states that have issued their own emergency or disaster declarations.
Only 28 states received waivers in May, a significant decrease that indicates a slowing of COVID-related emergency health declarations across the country. The USDA granted waivers to more than 40 states in January, February, March, and April.
Bank of America is offering a $100 bonus for new Online Checking Accounts. Details are available on the page.
If you live in one of the following 28 states, you may be eligible for enhanced benefits:
- The District of Columbia (DC)
- State of New Hampshire
- Newark, New Jersey
- State of New Mexico
- North Carolina (NC)
- Providence, Rhode Island
- South Carolina (SC)
- Utah \Virginia
- West Virginia (WV)
How Do I Determine Whether I’m EA-Eligible in May?
If your state was granted a waiver by the USDA, go to the SNAP COVID-19 Emergency Allotments Guidance page for more information.
If you’re wondering when you can expect to receive your benefits in May, the most important information can be found on your state’s SNAP page, despite the fact that the program is funded by the federal government. Just as the states are in charge of administering SNAP, they are also in charge of determining payment schedules.
The schedule is usually determined by the last numbers of your benefits number or case number, but it varies by state — in some states, EBT cards are reloaded based on Social Security numbers or last names.
Some states pay on the first of the month, while others pay within the first few days, while others do not pay until the month is nearly over, and still others stagger payments throughout the month.
Of course, you can Google your state’s name and “SNAP” to find your state’s page, but the food stamps app Providers — formerly Fresh EBT — keeps a useful database of state-by-state information. Simply go to Providers.com and select the “EBT in My State” dropdown menu. Consider signing up for the app if you are a recipient.