(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Coloradans who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will soon see a reduction in their monthly benefit amount, after recent congressional action brought large changes to SNAP.

According to a press release from El Paso County, during the pandemic, state and federal governments approved increased payments for those receiving funds through SNAP. Originally, the emergency maximum allotments were going to end when the Public Health Emergency (PHE) ended.

While the PHE remains in place, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, signed at the very end of December, triggers swift changes to SNAP.

Starting in March, families and individuals receiving food assistance will see an average decrease of $90 per person, but amounts will vary, and many may see a larger decrease. The exact decrease will depend on individual eligibility.

For example, a household of four with earned gross income of $4,098.26 per month gross income with minimal standard deductions would see a reduction of $870 of SNAP benefits each month. This brings the eligible allotment for this family to $69 of SNAP benefits monthly. This is only an example of a single household; other household amounts may vary based on household size, income, rent, utility, phone, and childcare expenses if there is earned income.

A case where the individual is eligible for the maximum allotment based on case specific circumstances would see a decrease of $95.

SNAP is not meant to cover all food needs for an individual or a family; it is a supplemental program. El Paso County DHS is working closely with community partners and nonprofits in our region to find ways to connect families and individuals to resources.

To help reduce the impact on households, families can:

  • If able to, roll over your EBT benefits to the next month. This may help “cushion” the impact of the reduction in benefits. 
  • Stock up on non-perishable items now, while households have the additional benefits. Click on this link for tips on stocking your pantry: EnglishSpanish
  • Stretch food ingredients and plan to use them in more than one meal. This helps to save money and reduce food waste. Click for more tips: EnglishSpanish
  • Consider freezing produce to make fruit and vegetables last longer EnglishSpanish
  • Look at the Unit Prices to compare similar products at the grocery store EnglishSpanish

El Paso County said for each month of 2022 in the county, more than 37,000 households and 73,000 individuals received SNAP. Since the beginning of the pandemic, El Paso County Department of Human Services staff have told those receiving SNAP that the emergency maximum allotment is not permanent.