PA Food Stamp recipients may get a second payment this month

If you receive SNAP benefits, you may 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.

The USDA has approved additional SNAP benefits each month for the duration of the crisis. (This will depend on how long both the federal and state government have issued an emergency or disaster declaration.) The rules have not yet changed as to who is eligible for them.

October 26 update: The Trump administration is appealing the Community Legal Services of Philadelphia’s early October lawsuit win against the USDA (which we supported). The lawsuit challenged the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA)’s denying extra SNAP benefits to the poorest households – those already receiving the maximum benefit amount for their household size. The win would have allowed all SNAP households to receive additional benefits for as long as there is an emergency declaration in place.

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). SNAP recipients who weren’t receiving the maximum benefit for their household size will continue to receive the maximum benefit for as long as the federal and state emergency declarations are in place. This will continue to be determined on a month-to-month basis.

February 5, 2021 update: Pres. Biden has directed the USDA to work with the Dept. of Justice on allowing states to provide extra SNAP benefits through Emergency Allotments to the lowest-income households. The Trump administration had blocked these households, who were already receiving the maximum benefit, from getting any extra aid.

April 7, 2021 update: Second payments of the Emergency Allotments have been approved for April. Check the chart at the bottom of the page to find your distribution date.

VICTORY! Community Legal Services of Philadelphia (CLS) has finally won additional SNAP benefits for the roughly 700,000 Pennsylvanian SNAP households who the Trump administration had blocked from getting extra SNAP during the pandemic. These households, who were already eligible for the maximum benefit amount, will get additional SNAP every month starting in May. CLS’s first won their lawsuit on behalf of these households in October but the Trump administration appealed it. On March 31, 2021, CLS settled the lawsuit for $712 million in retroactive food stamp benefits.

PA SNAP households already eligible for the maximum benefit amount will also receive a lump-sum payment for the extra benefits they should have received from September 11, 2020, through April 30, 2021. Households that received less than $95 in extra SNAP each month because their partial benefit was close to the maximum benefit will also get a lump-sum payment of extra SNAP.

  • For SNAP households already eligible for the maximum benefit, the lump-sum payment is equal to half of the maximum SNAP benefit amount based on household size, per month. So a family of 4 that was already eligible for $782 and so wasn’t receiving any additional SNAP will soon receive a payment of $391 for every month between September and April that they were eligible for SNAP. For households that have been on SNAP continuously since September and who were getting the maximum SNAP, this will amount to about $850 for single people, $1500 for households of two, and on up. We are not sure how or when this payment will be distributed.
  • Households that only received a small extra allotment (less than $95) will also receive a lump-sum payment of retroactive additional SNAP, but we’re not sure how much, how, or when.
  • The Biden administration announced it will provide $1 billion a month in extra SNAP benefits to the roughly 25 million lowest-income SNAP households that the prior administration had blocked from getting extra SNAP during the pandemic.
  • We will provide updates once the PA Dept. of Human Services releases more info.

All SNAP households will get extra benefits (EA payments)

For Jan. 1 – Jun. 30, 2021 (includes 15% increase)
Household Size Maximum Benefit
1 $234
2 $430
3 $616
4 $782
5 $929
6 $1,114
7 $1,232
8 $1,408
Each additional member $176

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 and those whose EA payments are less than $95 per month will start receiving extra SNAP in May. EA payments will not change for households who had been receiving extra SNAP of $95 or more 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 extra SNAP benefits will I get?

For example:

    • If you are a 3 person household, the maximum benefit is $509 per month. If your family is only eligible for $200 per month, you will get $309 to bring you up to the maximum benefit.
    • All households eligible for the maximum SNAP benefit will get another $95 a month (regardless of household size).
    • Households that are close to the maximum (less than $95 away) will be guaranteed 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, 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 November SNAP benefits on November 20.

If you recently were approved for 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 two months afterward when they identify households who were missed.

  • For example, if you were approved for benefits on October 14th, you might not start receiving the extra payments until the second half of December. For November and subsequent months, you would get your second payment in the second half of the months. You will receive both your regular and extra benefits in the same month for as long as there is an emergency declaration in place and you remain eligible for SNAP.

SNAP households that were already receiving the maximum benefit allowed will start getting extra SNAP in May.

 

Extra SNAP Benefits Issuance Day
Last digit of your record # 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
March date of 2nd payment 17 18 19 22 23 24 25 26 27 30
April date of 2nd payment 16 19 20 21 22 23 26 27 28 29

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 SNAP. 

How long are my 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.

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37 Responses to PA Food Stamp recipients may get a second payment this month

  1. Avatar
    Randy Boal April 16, 2020 at 2:26 pm #

    They give 15 dollars a month im on fixed income does this mean ill get more

    • Avatar
      Just Harvest April 17, 2020 at 4:58 pm #

      Hi Mr. Boal,

      Yes, if you are the only person in your household you will get $179 to bring you up to $194 for the month.

  2. Avatar
    ANASTACIA HOWZE April 17, 2020 at 12:52 am #

    This is tragic news to read. This is the reason why black and brown have been so deeply and disproportionate ravaged by this deadly virus. It all stems from a deep rooted systemic racial inequality; leaving those who have the most needs left with little or no resources or options. This is a crisis, an emergency. How and why are substantial segments of the population pushed through the cracks and recieve no help from their elected officials? It conjures up feelings that make me want to chant “black lives matter”. But a heart-felt thank you for any people that your organization haa been able to help.

    • Avatar
      Just Harvest April 17, 2020 at 3:40 pm #

      Thank you for your comment, Ms. Howze. We fully agree that this is a crisis, and it is affecting people of color, low-wage workers, and women disproportionately. The people who struggle and are vulnerable in the “best of times” are the ones hardest hit in the worst of times. So helping people must mean more than direct assistance. It requires working to undo this country’s long history of systemic inequality. Which is why we advocate at all levels of government to improve key public policies and programs that address hunger and hardship. For more on our advocacy efforts, check out http://www.justharvest.org/advocacy and http://www.justharvest.org/get-involved/take-action-to-change-public-policy

  3. Avatar
    Thomas April 20, 2020 at 2:40 pm #

    I received food stamps in march and april i usually get them on the 7th of each month. I am a single person…How much more will I receive and when?

    • Avatar
      Just Harvest April 20, 2020 at 7:16 pm #

      That would depend on how much you’re receiving right now.

  4. Avatar
    Stephanie April 20, 2020 at 6:11 pm #

    Hello..Is the entire Pa going to receive extra Benefits..or is certain areas in Pa?

    • Avatar
      Just Harvest April 20, 2020 at 7:13 pm #

      Thanks for asking. All of PA, though not all PA food stamp recipients.

  5. Avatar
    Denise April 21, 2020 at 7:27 am #

    How long will we recieve extra snap food stamps?

    • Avatar
      Just Harvest April 21, 2020 at 2:48 pm #

      So far the federal government has only approved additional benefits for April. We are waiting to hear from the USDA as to whether there will be additional benefits in future months as well during this crisis. We are also advocating at the state level regarding PA’s efforts to make additional food stamps available for households with children. We will post separately on that when we know more.

      • Avatar
        Just Harvest April 22, 2020 at 2:59 pm #

        We learned today that the USDA has approved additional SNAP benefits each month for the duration of the crisis. (This will depends on how long both the federal and state government have issued an emergency or disaster declaration.) We’ll be working with our allies to try to get them to provide extra monthly beneits for the 40% of households that were already getting the max.

  6. Avatar
    Stephanie Ripley April 21, 2020 at 10:38 am #

    Ok..so the residents that receive the maximum is not going to get extra Benefits..but the rest are?

  7. Avatar
    Ashalea N Binney April 21, 2020 at 11:12 pm #

    What if you get 194 already I dont understand this will I get extra benefits

    • Avatar
      Just Harvest April 22, 2020 at 2:52 pm #

      What is your household size? If you are already receiving the maximum for your household size then you will not get extra benefits this month. Advocates will be working to try to address this problem for future months.

    • Avatar
      Jenni Baker July 17, 2020 at 12:01 am #

      What happens if they declare the emergency over? Do we just drop back to where we were? I’m glad for the extra help but groceries have gotten so expensive it’s now like we aren’t getting extra. I’m worried about being able to feed my Granddaughter. I’m raising her. Thank you for the information and keeping us updated.

  8. Avatar
    LaTinna April 23, 2020 at 4:07 pm #

    Will we still get benefits I’m May even though we got Extra in April?

    • Avatar
      Just Harvest April 23, 2020 at 4:31 pm #

      Yes. If you’re supposed to receive benefits in May then you will still receive them. You will also receive an extra benefit allotment for May too, and every month for as long as there is an official emergency declaration in place. But because this is a new policy, the extra May payment may not show up until June. Hopefully by June they will have the two payments set to be regular every month, or perhaps combined into one lump payment. We will be working on this issue and will share info on this page as we have it.

  9. Avatar
    Jessica April 24, 2020 at 12:07 pm #

    Hi, if we received the benefits april 16th, must they all be used by the end of April, or will the extra benefits roll into May? Thank you.

    • Avatar
      Just Harvest April 24, 2020 at 5:58 pm #

      In PA, unused benefits roll over to the next month but must be used within three months. But for these extra payments, as long as you are using your card, they won’t take back the extra benefits.

  10. Avatar
    sissy April 26, 2020 at 9:17 pm #

    Will there be an extra allotment of food stamps because of the coronavirus emergency for May 2020.

    • Avatar
      Just Harvest May 1, 2020 at 12:02 pm #

      Yes! There will be additional SNAP benefits each month for the duration of the crisis, as long as there is an emergency or disaster declaration. So we are expecting extra SNAP payments in May and likely in June as well at this point.

  11. Avatar
    Shaylinn April 27, 2020 at 8:21 am #

    If I only received partial Mar and all April and my number end in 8. Would I see a extra disbursement?

    • Avatar
      Just Harvest May 1, 2020 at 12:03 pm #

      Yes. You should have received the extra disbursement by now. Please contact us if you didn’t by calling (412) 431-8960 x602.

  12. Avatar
    Missy Dorsey May 1, 2020 at 7:31 am #

    We don’t receive the maximum amount for our family size but we didn’t receive any extra either? Is there other reasons why you may not get the extra?

    • Avatar
      Just Harvest May 1, 2020 at 12:07 pm #

      If you never received it that’s likely because you were approved for food stamps after early April. That’s when it was determined who in PA would be receiving a second payment. Unfortunately, this means DHS has decided you won’t be getting this second payment for April. If you continue to be eligible for SNAP in May and June then you should get second payments in those months to bring your household up to the maximum benefit level.

      We are still advocating that DHS issue second payments to everyone who received food stamps for any part of April so that they receive the maximum allotment for this month as well.

    • Avatar
      Just Harvest May 28, 2020 at 3:40 pm #

      This policy has been changed. New SNAP applicants who are processed after the 10th of the month (or around then) will not receive their second SNAP payments that same month, but they will receive it. Late March applicants should have received their SNAP emergency allotment in May; April’s should post sometime in June; May’s should post in July; and so on.

  13. Avatar
    Kelly May 12, 2020 at 12:49 pm #

    All recipients should be allowed the extra allotment weather tgey are at the max or not. The max dosen’t mean that those families don’t need tge extra help as well. We are at the max because of our household sizes and income guidelines. Which mean all those at the max should still receive the same help.

    • Avatar
      Just Harvest May 28, 2020 at 3:44 pm #

      We completely agree and are advocating that the Trump administration change their policy on this as well as increase the maximum benefit for all households. If you would like to submit a statement about why being denied extra SNAP benefits because you were already at the maximum has hurt you, and how extra food assistance would help you right now, it will help us in our advocacy efforts with federal officials.

      Please also use our easy form to send a letter to Sen. Casey and Toomey urging them to pass the HEROES Act, which would increase SNAP benefits for everyone, and to make sure extra benefits go to *all* SNAP households during this emergency: http://www.justharvest.org/tell-the-senate-to-pass-the-heroes-act-and-strengthen-snap-now/

  14. Avatar
    Martha Gammino September 29, 2020 at 1:46 pm #

    The maximum SNAP allotment are supposed to increase as of October 2020. For a family of one (my circumstance) the benefit is supposed to go from $194 to $204. Does JH have any information on that? Thanks!

    • Avatar
      Just Harvest October 1, 2020 at 4:58 pm #

      Yes — this page has now been updated with that information.

  15. Avatar
    Pittsburgh James October 20, 2020 at 10:31 am #

    Have not received October’s increase yet. These increases have really helped. I think every month it comes a few days later so if the the COVID-19 last a really long time the payments will lapse.

    • Avatar
      Just Harvest October 22, 2020 at 3:14 pm #

      The SNAP payment schedule varies month to month but these second payments always take place in the second half of the month (generally starting the 15th or later) on weekdays that aren’t federal holidays. So depending on what the last digit of your case number is, you may in fact get your second payment on the 29th one month and the 31st the next. But unless you have just been approved for SNAP in the latter half of a month (in which case the state will deposit the second payment for that month on your card two months later), those second payments will always take place within the month and will not lapse for as long as these max benefits are continued.

  16. Avatar
    Jim April 3, 2021 at 1:35 pm #

    I know this page and comments are a little outdated, but between my local food bank and these Snap increases, it is so nice not to worry as much about food as I have in the past. I would hope the administration will look into increasing these benefits permanently in the future, even if it is just a little bit. I know when it was $15-$16 it really did not help much, now I do not have to worry as much about cutting back here and there to buy the necessary food I need.

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