BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Following a vote in Congress, benefits born from the pandemic that were tacked on to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will be ending for Massachusetts residents with a final payment on March 2, 2023.
According to Brittany Mangini, an Associate Commissoner at the Department of Transitional Assistance, over 600,000 Massachusetts households have been receiving extra temporary federal SNAP benefits during the COVID-19 national public health emergency since March of 2020. The additional COVID-19 payment comes out to be the difference between a resident's normal benefit amount and the maximum among for their household— with a minimum of $95 per household.
Those that are under the program have been receiving the added benefits at the start of each month. Officials say any unused SNAP benefits carry over month to month, meaning benefactors can save some of their extra benefits for after March 2. After the end date, regular SNAP benefits will pick back up— the state has launched a website to help families transition once they do.
To ensure a household gets the most SNAP benefits its eligible for, state officials recommend residents inform the about their medical costs that are over $35 a month for anyone over the age of 60 within the household.
Likewise, residents are urged to tell the DTA if their housing costs, whether it be rent or mortgage, have increased. Child or disabled adult care costs are also recommended to be shared with the DTA to potentially increase SNAP benefits.
Additionally, the state is reminding residents that their enrollment in the SNAP program makes them automatically eligible to participate in the Healthy Incentives Program, which puts money back on a resident's account whenever they buy produce from HIP farm vendors. The HIP benefits can vary depending on household size, with a range between $40 to $80 a month.
WBZ's Jim MacKay (@JimMacKayOnAir) reports.