Pandemic food benefits stopping at end of month for Oregonians
PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - At the end of February, emergency food assistance benefits that were put in place in April 2020 will come to an end. This change will be affecting nearly 1 million households in Washington and Oregon that are currently receiving food assistance.
More on the emergency allotments here.
“I am not going to sugar coat it,” said Angelita Morillo, a Policy Advocate working on the SNAP Program for Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon. “I think it’s going to be a really difficult time both for people who are trying to access benefits and for folks working with DHS and at the call center. I think we are going to have extremely long wait times if people are trying to call into DHS, we are going to have long wait times for those accessing the food bank, and I think there is going to be an increase in hunger overall. I don’t think there are a lot of people who necessarily think this is happening and might be caught off guard by it despite best efforts by several agencies trying to get that information out to people ahead of time.”
Over 500,000 households in Washington and over 400,000 households in Oregon currently receive food assistance.
With the emergency SNAP benefits ending this week, the average household will be seeing around a 40% decrease in their total food benefits. Morillo says it’s best for those receiving benefits to be prepared.
“Make sure all of your information is up to date,” said Morillo. “You’ll want to go to benefits.oregon.gov or check your EBT EDGE account if your household size has changed, if your income has changed, anything like that you want to make sure that information is up to date because you might be eligible for more benefits than you realize. You might also be receiving information they are mailing out to you that you can only receive if your information is up to date.”
You can also find additional food resources in your community by going online to NeedFood.Oregon.gov or by dialing 2-1-1. ODHS says it is currently working to notify households that receive SNAP about the upcoming change.
Organizations are recommending:
- Knowing what your regular SNAP benefit is. Your regular SNAP benefits are added to your EBT card between the first and the ninth day of the month. This can help you budget and plan. You can check this by accessing your EBT account online.
- Find out what additional food resources there are in your community to help you get enough food. You can do this by dialing 2-1-1, or by visiting NeedFood.Oregon.Gov.
- If you anticipate needing to rely on local food pantries, our partners at the Oregon Food Bank recommend visiting food pantries at the beginning of the month when they are fully stocked and then using your SNAP food benefits to purchase food later in the month when food pantries have lower supplies.
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