CINCINNATI — Buying food could soon become a bigger challenge for the hundreds of thousands of Ohioans on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

What You Need To Know

  • The SNAP emergency allotment will end on March 1

  • This will impact more than 670,000 Ohioans

  • Once the emergency assistance ends, payments will go back to pre-pandemic amounts

  • Senior citizens and people on fixed incomes are expected to be most impacted by cutbacks

That’s because in March, payments could be slashed in half with the emergency assistance coming to an end.

More than 670,000 Ohioans have been receiving SNAP emergency allotment benefits during the pandemic, according to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. It’s increased some families' income allowance to more than double.

But come March, the extra payments will be removed and payouts will return to pre-pandemic levels, which has many people concerned.

“We actually received a call yesterday and the woman was in tears,” said Kam McKenzie, Freestore Foodbank SNAP Outreach Manager. “She was a senior (citizen). Her benefit was $36 a month. She had been able to get the $250 the last two years and a half and she just doesn’t know how she’s going to survive.”

McKenzie said one in six Hamilton County residents rely on SNAP benefits. And while many people will be impacted by the cutbacks, she said there’s a certain group she’s really concerned about. 

"Those individuals are usually our seniors and individuals who are on a fixed income and maybe receiving social security disability,” she said. “They will be hit the hardest because they were already at a low amount.”

That’s why McKenzie has been encouraging people to stockpile as much as they can before the assistance runs out and to also take advantage of the resources they already have available to them.

“We talk about cost savings and using your reward shopper cards and coupons and utilizing your local food banks to be able to help you in that time,” she said. 

McKenzie said the Freestore Foodbank is always a resource for those in need and that it can help offset the assistance reduction. 

“Prices of food has already gone up and we’re already expecting to see an influx of individuals coming into our agency to be able to supplement that loss from that reduction,” she said. 

You can find more information about resources available from the Freestore Foodbank website