(First published April 2020; regularly updated since then.)
If you receive SNAP benefits, you will get an extra payment – a SNAP Emergency Allotment (EA) – on your EBT card later this month to help you buy food during the COVID-19 crisis.
In response to the pandemic, Congress created extra monthly payments for folks eligible for food stamps back in April 2020. But it requires an emergency declaration to be in place at both the federal and state level, and the federal government has to approve states’ distribution plans every month.
In July 2022, the Biden administration approved another round of SNAP Emergency Allotments, so these will continue through November 2022! This may get extended further if Pres. Biden issues another 90-day emergency declaration for the pandemic in mid-October.
You can find Pennsylvania’s August and July 2022 distribution dates below. We update these dates monthly once the USDA signs off on the PA Dept. of Human Services SNAP EA distribution plan for that month.
All SNAP households will get extra benefits (EA payments) during the pandemic emergency
|For Oct. 1, 2021 – Aug. 31, 2022 (includes recent SNAP increases)|
|Household Size||Maximum Benefit|
|Each additional member||$188|
The extra payment will bring households who are only eligible for a partial benefit up to the maximum benefit amount for their household size (see chart at right). Households who are already eligible for the maximum benefit amount will receive $95 per month.
If you live in Allegheny County and have any questions about your SNAP benefits, want to check your eligibility, or need help applying, call and leave your name and contact info and the best time to reach you, Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, at (412) 431-8960 (option 3) or by filling out the form on this page.
How much in extra SNAP benefits will I get?
- If you are a 3-person household, the maximum benefit is $658 per month. So if your family is only eligible for $200 per month, you will get a second emergency allotment of $458 to bring you up to the maximum.
- If you receive the maximum SNAP allowed for your household size in your first monthly payment, you will get a second emergency allotment of $95 (regardless of household size).
- Households whose first payment is close to the maximum (less than $95 away) will get emergency allotments of $95 per household.
When will I get the extra SNAP benefits?
The extra SNAP will be loaded to your EBT card during the 3rd and 4th weeks of every month based on your payment date. For residents in Allegheny County (and larger counties in PA), the payment date is based on the last number in your case record number.
- Find the final digit (0-9) of your record number on a DHS notice, or using your MyCOMPASS Account online. Find your number on the top row of the chart below.
- For example, if your record number ends in 5, you’ll get your extra August SNAP benefits on August 20..
|Extra SNAP Benefits Issuance Day
(if viewing on mobile you may need to turn your screen sideways to view the whole table)
|Last digit of your record #||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||0|
|August 2022 date of 2nd payment||16||17||18||19||20||23||24||25||26||27|
|July 2022 date of 2nd payment||16||19||20||21||22||23||26||27||28||29|
For other counties, the best way to figure out your SNAP benefits issuance day – the day the benefits appear on your card – is by calling the number on the back of your EBT card. After it gives the benefit amount, you need to select “Other ” (option 5) and then Payment Dates (option 3).
You will receive both your regular and extra benefits in the same month for as long as the state is able to issue them and you remain eligible for SNAP.
However, if DHS recently approved your SNAP benefits, the extra SNAP benefits may not appear on your card in the month that you were approved. Because the state schedules these payments early in the month, people who are approved later in the month do not typically receive the extra allotment that same month. If this happens, you should receive a makeup payment on DHS’s clean-up issuance date two months afterward when they identify households who were missed.
- You would be eligible for an Emergency Allotment for June, since you received some benefits for June. That would not post to your SNAP card until August 7, when PA DHS distributes missed payments for June.
- Since you weren’t approved for benefits until the middle of July after the July regular SNAP payments were distributed, PA DHS may not have been able to include your Emergency Allotment with the others going out in the second half of July. You would instead get July’s Emergency Allotment in the first week of September, when the state distributes missed payments for July.
- Starting in August, you should receive your regular payment on your normal SNAP payment day every month. Your second payment, the Emergency Allotment, should post about two weeks later each month on the day that corresponds with your payment issuance number (see chart above).
Will I need to turn in paperwork or apply to get the extra SNAP benefits?
No. You don’t need to fill out extra paperwork. PA Dept. of Human Services will automatically add the extra SNAP benefits to your EBT card each month that you are eligible for SNAP, and you’ll be able to use them just like regular food stamps.
How long are my SNAP benefits good for?
These benefits won’t expire. As long as an EBT card is used at least once every five months, the benefits can stay on the card forever, even if you become ineligible for SNAP. If PA Dept. of Human Services moves unused benefits out of your account due to extended card inactivity, you can get the benefits back if you explain why you didn’t use them.
The SNAP Emergency Allotment is a result of the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” (H.R. 6201), which was signed into law on March 18, 2020. Thanks to our ally, the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger, for laying out much of the information in this post.
January 4, 2021 update: Congress’s December COVID Relief package approved a 15% increase to SNAP benefits for all recipients for the next 6 months (until June 30, 2021).
April 7, 2021 update:
VICTORY! A lawsuit settlement won by Community Legal Services of Philadelphia (CLS) means there will finally be additional SNAP benefits for the roughly 700,000 Pennsylvanian SNAP households who the Trump administration had blocked from getting extra SNAP during the pandemic.
Learn more about who is eligible for these settlement funds, how much, and when they’ll get them.
In addition, the Biden administration announced that for the duration of the pandemic it will provide $1 billion a month in extra SNAP benefits to the roughly 25 million SNAP households nationwide who are eligible for the maximum benefits.
May 7, 2021 update:
PA SNAP households that were already receiving the maximum benefit allowed will start getting extra SNAP this month. New info is now available on when households who were given small emergency allotments or no allotments at any point from September 2020 to April 2021 will be receiving the extra SNAP they are owed.
July 4, 2021 update:
The Wolf and Biden administrations worked out a blanket approval for SNAP emergency allotments for the remainder of 2021! The USDA will not have to approve the state’s emergency allotment distribution plan every month. All PA SNAP recipients will get a second allotment automatically. Check the chart at the bottom of the page to find your emergency allotment distribution dates for June through December.
October 1, 2021 update:
Benefit amounts have increased due to the cost of living increases to SNAP income eligibility guidelines and benefit amounts that happen every year on this day. They also include the additional SNAP benefit increase of roughly 25% that the Biden administration put in place. Despite these increases, your benefit amount may not go up as much as you’d expect because there was already a 15% SNAP benefits increase in place. The 15% increase was only temporary – it expired Sep. 30 – so these new increases replace that one. The new benefit levels will be in place until the next cost of living adjustment on Oct. 1, 2022. However, we have not heard whether SNAP EA max allotments will continue in 2022.
The new SNAP income eligibility guidelines are on our Food Stamps assistance page.
March 22, 2021 update: The Biden administration announced that the 15% increase in benefits for all SNAP recipients will continue through September.
January 15, 2022 update:
The Biden administration has extended the federal emergency declaration for another 90 days due to the pandemic. This means SNAP EA payments will continue through May (due to an automatic extra month provided by the program rules). Whether it gets extended again will be decided in April.
April 13, 2022 update:
The Biden administration has extended the federal emergency declaration for another 90 days due to the pandemic. This means SNAP EA payments will continue through August (due to an automatic extra month provided by the program rules). Whether it gets extended again will be decided in July.