Beginning in March 2023, more than 720,000 Oregonians enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (sometimes called 'SNAP' or 'food stamps') will see a significant decrease in monthly benefits.
In response to the pandemic, many SNAP participants received additional benefits each month, based on household size. Now that the federal COVID-19 state of emergency is ending, federal funding for these SNAP “emergency allotments” will also expire. More than 720,000 people — one in six Oregonians — will ultimately see a minimum loss of $95 for groceries each month. Families will face a 40% reduction in benefits on average, even as the price of food and housing continues to rise.
Regular SNAP benefits received prior to the pandemic will not change. Everyone should receive their regular SNAP deposit between the 1st and 9th of the month, as usual. Only the “emergency allotments” will end. (SNAP participants can log in at EBTedge.com to view the regular benefit amount, which is listed in transaction history at the beginning of each month.)
Frequently Asked Questions
What are SNAP Emergency Allotments?
In response to the economic impact of COVID-19, most Oregonians participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) received the maximum monthly benefit allowable based on household size. This is called an Emergency Allotment, or EA, with funds added to Oregon Trail (EBT) cards as a second, supplemental deposit each month.
For families already receiving the maximum benefit (based on income), this may not have been a significant change. But SNAP benefits are issued on a sliding scale, which led to significant increase in monthly support for groceries in over 400,000 households in Oregon — at least $95 in additional funds each month for individuals and an average increase of 40% for families. The federal government has approved Oregon’s EAs every month since March 2020, but as the federal state of emergency comes to a close, funding for the SNAP “emergency allotments” also expires.
Why are SNAP Emergency Allotments ending?
Emergency Allotments (EAs) generally last as long as a state of emergency is in place, and the federal government has approved Oregon’s EAs every month since March 2020. We knew funding for these EAs would expire once the pandemic state of emergency came to a close. Yet the federal budget passed in January 2023 (called The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023), Congress set a firm end date — making February 2023 the last month EAs can be issued.
Will regular SNAP benefits be affected?
Regular SNAP benefits received prior to the pandemic will not change. Everyone should receive a regular SNAP deposit between the 1st and 9th of the month, as usual. Only the “emergency allotments” will end — which means a minimum of $95 less each month for groceries. SNAP participants can log in at EBTedge.com to view the regular benefit amount, which is listed in transaction history at the beginning of each month.
Where can Oregonians find food and other resources to make up the difference?
For everyone who is facing this benefits cliff, know that food remains available to all who need it. Our Network of 21 regional food banks and more than 1,400 food assistance sites are moving mountains to make sure resources remain available across rural, urban and suburban communities.
We have an easy to use app at OregonFoodFinder.org, where you can enter in your address and find all the free food markets, pantries, delivery programs and meal sites in your community. Everyone is welcome — regardless of race, gender, religion or immigration status.
To learn more about support with the cost of housing, healthcare, utilities and other essential needs, dial 2-1-1 or visit 211info.org. Information and navigation services are available in more than two dozen languages.
What’s the most effective way to help right now?
For those of us who aren’t facing challenges with grocery costs, it has never been more important to get involved.
For every dollar you donate, Oregon Food Bank can provide three meals worth of food — that’s way more than any individual can purchase on our own at a store.
Equally important is your time:
Our free food markets, pantries, delivery programs and meal sites run largely on volunteer power — and almost all have shifts to fill. Learn more on our volunteer page, or find contact information for local food assistance sites near you at OregonFoodFinder.org.
We expect a significant increase in demand for emergency food assistance as Oregon families begin to experience the loss of grocery funds in March. We are working with the governor and state legislators to ensure our Network has the resources necessary to meet rising needs — an estimated $7.5 million to source and purchase food over the coming months. Use our online form to get involved in efforts to encourage elected leaders to ensure food remains available to all who need it.
The coming months will be especially challenging for so many Oregonians — and we hope everyone who’s able will contribute in whatever way is meaningful to you!
What is Oregon Food Bank doing to prepare and raise awareness?
The first step is to make sure everyone is aware that changes to SNAP Emergency Allotments are coming — and we’re working with the Oregon Department of Human Services to help spread the word. Together, we’re reaching out directly through social media, mail and advertisements to people who have faced food insecurity in recent years. And we’ve produced fliers in eight languages to share with SNAP participants who visit food assistance sites across the state.
The second step is to make sure everyone knows where to find resources — that free food remains available to all who need it. We've launched a series of advertisements to help Oregonians find free food through the Oregon Food Bank Network, paired with public service announcements that point community members to OregonFoodFinder.org — our one-stop-shop, available in 14 languages, to find free food markets, pantries, meal sites and delivery programs in Oregon and Southwest Washington.
In the meantime, our Network is moving mountains to source and distribute as much food as we can to fill the gap. Even so, we anticipate at least $7.5 million in state funds will be needed to help us meet rising demand in the coming months. Use our online form to get involved in efforts to encourage elected leaders to ensure food remains available to all who need it.
What are state and federal leaders doing to support Oregon families?
We expect a significant increase in demand for emergency food assistance as SNAP Emergency Allotments expire, and our partnership with state and federal leaders is as critical today as it’s ever been. Food banks like ours increasingly have to purchase food to meet evolving needs — and that’s prior to more than 720,000 Oregonians losing funds for groceries.
We anticipate at least $7.5 million in state funds will be needed to help us meet rising demand in the coming months. Use our online form to get involved in efforts to encourage elected leaders to ensure food remains available to all who need it.
At Oregon Food Bank, we know programs like SNAP are effective at staving off even greater rates of hunger in our communities.
While we continue to advocate for longer-term investments in food assistance, the 21 Regional Food Banks and 1,400+ food assistance sites that make up the Oregon Food Bank Network are doing everything possible to ensure that food remains available to all who need it.
This shared effort to meet the long-term economic effects of the pandemic head-on is fueled by the incredible grassroots support of this community. This ongoing action will become even more important as state and federal emergency programs sunset. Thank you so much for all you’ve done — and continue to do — to help us all emerge stronger together!