In this week's Advocacy and Policy Updates we have information about the extension of the Public Health Emergency and Emergency Allotments, as well as the new, increased SNAP Income Guidelines, and information on how to make sure you are ready to vote in the upcoming Nov. 8th election.
Public Health Emergency and Emergency Allotments Extended
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced another 90-day extension of the federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) from October 13, 2022 – January 11, 2023. SNAP Emergency Allotments (EAs), the extra SNAP dollars that households get in the second half of the month, are tied to the federal PHE. Because it has been extended, the Department of Human Services (DHS) can seek approval from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to continue distributing EAs in Pennsylvania for at least a few more months. Pennsylvania is currently completing the distribution EAs for the month of October.
SNAP Income Guidelines
As we previously reported, on October 1, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) increased the SNAP Income Guidelines to 200% of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines (FPIG) for all households. While this means that families with higher incomes will be considered for SNAP, some households of three or more with high incomes and low expenses might not qualify for a benefit. If you aren’t sure if you qualify, it can’t hurt to apply, and our SNAP Hotline can help!
The SNAP benefit amount that your household gets is based on your income and your household expenses that the SNAP program counts. While people with higher incomes will now be considered for SNAP, some of these households might not have high enough expenses to qualify for SNAP.
Households of 1 or 2 members that meet income and other rules will qualify for at least the minimum benefit of $23 per month no matter what their expenses are. But it is possible that some households of three or more people who apply may not be eligible.
To learn more about what this means check out our narrated video above, created in collaboration with our partners at Community Legal Services, Just Harvest, and Philabundance. This video explains the new SNAP income guidelines in more detail and gives some examples about what this means for families that apply. Or, see this helpful flyer created by our partners at Community Legal Services.
Remember, during the federal Public Health Emergency, every family that receives SNAP also receives an Emergency Allotment, which bumps them up to at least the maximum SNAP benefit amount for their household size. If you think you might qualify for SNAP under the new income guidelines, apply as soon as possible to take advantage of this extra SNAP!
Voter Registration Deadline October 24
The deadline to register for the upcoming November 8 election is quickly approaching! Make sure you register by October 24. You can register to vote online, in person at your county voter registration office, or you can mail your application to your county voter registration office. If you mail your application, it must be received by October 24, so make sure you consider the time it takes to mail the application when you decide how to register. Even if you think you are already registered, we recommend that you check your voter registration status, which you can easily do online, through your local county voter registration office, or by calling 1-877-VOTESPA.
Once you are registered to vote, it’s time to come up with a plan for how you will vote. If you would like to vote by mail or need an absentee ballot, most PA voters can easily request one online, send an application to their county voter registration office, or visit the office in person. Applications for a mail-in or absentee ballot must be received by November 1 at 5pm.