Iowa will see the end of additional pandemic-related SNAP benefits

Iowans who receive support through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, will see a reduction in their benefits starting today.

April 1 marks the first day that Iowans will no longer receive additional benefits related to COVID-19 pandemic funding.

The cut is part of the end of Gov. Kim Reynolds’ public health disaster emergency proclamation and could result in losses of up to $230 a month in benefits, according to the Iowa Hunger Coalition.

Des Moines resident Tara Kramer said her benefits would be reduced from $250 a month to $20.

The cut has caused Kramer to recalculate her budget and wonder how she will be able to pay for groceries and monthly medical care.

“I have a dynamic disability. So I go to the doctor a lot,” she said. “And I won’t be able to continue physical therapy, because I won’t be able to afford those co-payments.”

Kramer said his medical conditions required him to follow a selective diet. She said the added benefits allowed her to buy the special foods she needed to better control her symptoms.

“Before the pandemic, I wasn’t eating properly. My numbers were all wrong at the doctor’s office,” she said. “And I was able to overcome so many different symptoms with my health just by being able to eat healthier.”

According to state data, more than 287,000 Iowans and more than 141,000 households receive SNAP benefits.

On average, Iowa households receive $475 per month in benefits. In 2019, this average monthly amount was $227.

Iowa City resident Cecelia Proffit said her family of four expects a reduction of about $250 per month with the change.

The extra benefits during the pandemic have allowed Proffit to buy more fresh fruits and vegetables for her young children — and special extras like ice cream sandwiches for her daughter’s second birthday.

“You don’t have to make every decision based on the maximum, you know, calories per dollar or whatever. So it’s just enjoyable and it’s less stressful,” she said.

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