WASHINGTON, DC (DC News Now) — Millions of Americans and their families will soon see smaller monthly food assistance payments. A pandemic-era program ends in March, according to the USDA.

Congress passed legislation in late 2022 that includes ending the additional emergency payments for eligible SNAP recipients — a program implemented to help offset additional food costs during the pandemic.

Extra monthly payments to end start at $95 — varying based on household size — and come during a time when food prices were 10% higher in January compared to the year prior, according to the Consumer Price Index.

“It’s really, really hard and difficult to try to make it through the month. So, them just cutting it would just make it a lot harder for us to make it,” Shavonne Banks, a mother who lives in the district told DC News Now last month.

According to February data from the USDA, the following number of households participating in the SNAP program will no longer receive the additional monthly payment.

  • 1,007,310 Pennsylvania households
  • 427,472 Virginia households
  • 359,393 Maryland households
  • 173,589 West Virginia households
  • 83,961 Washington, D.C. households

The demographic accounting for the most number of SNAP recipients are households with children.

Rachel Sabella, director of No Kid Hungry New York, told DC News Now sister station WTEN that “children who have three meals a day grow up to be stronger, they have better attendance rates, they have stronger health outcomes and when they don’t have that regular access to nutrition, it can impact them in a challenging way.”

People receiving SNAP benefits have options to stretch their dollars:

The DC Department of Human Services said SNAP recipients can review their deductions to possibly increase monthly benefits, based on monthly expenses.

Families with young children can apply for the WIC program, which is focused on befits for women, infants and children.

Recipients can also consider applying for energy assistance programs to offset the drop in SNAP benefits, and access local food banks that offer free or low-cost groceries.