MD SNAP Benefit Reductions Will Total Nearly $700 Million in 2023
Wednesday, April 12, 2023
With the end of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) emergency allotments, hunger advocates are sounding the alarm over food insecurity in Maryland.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports food price inflation continues, with the most recent data showing food prices 9.5% higher than a year ago.
In March, SNAP benefits returned to their pre-pandemic level with the average benefit falling back to $6 dollars per person per day.
Food Research and Action Center data shows over 360,000 households in the state will be affected by SNAP benefit cuts. The economic impact of that reduction in federal support is calculated to be nearly $700 million for the year.
Michael J. Wilson, director of the non-profit Maryland Hunger Solutions, said the benefit reductions will be felt broadly.
"The impact on grocery stores, on farmers markets, on corner stores on our food system is also going to be negative," said Wilson. "And it could have economic impacts that affect employment, affect jobs and affect hours. Whether you work at a grocery store or you're a transporter, and it will eventually even impact farmers. It's going to impact the entire food system and it won't stop at low-income folks."
The non-profit group Feeding America estimates SNAP provides nine times as many meals as food banks.
Low income Marylanders got a boost last week as the General Assembly passed Gov. Wes Moore's bill to accelerate the state's transition to a $15 per hour minimum wage.
Businesses of all sizes will be required to pay the new minimum wage by January 1. Wilson said in any conversation about food insecurity wages must be considered.
"I think the effort to raise the minimum wage is critical in these kinds of conversations," said Wilson. "Let's not pretend that a lot of the SNAP recipients aren't already working, they're just not not earning enough to be able to escape poverty so everything we can do to help alleviate poverty helps in all of the food and nutrition programs."
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