Federal Emergency Funding is Good News for Maine SNAP Recipients
People receiving SNAP benefits will continue to get the maximum allotment through August, thanks to federal emergency funding.
When Governor Janet Mills ended the state of Civil Emergency on June 30th, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services issued a Public Health Emergency declaration that allows the state to take advantage of Federal funding for COVID-19 Emergency Allotments through SNAP. What this means is over $16 million per month in benefit supplements will be distributed to just over 88,000 households. Maine has the option to continue to pursue these additional funds, beyond the end of August.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, provides financial assistance to eligible low-income individuals and families. The recipients' monthly stipend is loaded onto an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card, which they can use like a debit card. The SNAP system has restrictions loaded into the programming, so some purchases are not eligible for benefits, like alcohol.
Maine's Department of Health and Human Services refers to a recent U.S. Food and Nutrition Services study on how those additional SNAP benefits are affecting the local economy. According to their calculations, the $16 million that will be distributed throughout the state is projected to have an actual impact of up to $24.54 million on Maine's economy. A Center on Budget and Policy Priorities study in May 2021 shows that 13 percent of children in Maine weren't eating enough because the family couldn't afford an adequate supply of food. This places Maine in the top spot for states where children experience food insecurity, with the next highest being Vermont.