Amid high food costs and a shortage of infant formula driving up the prices of a critical source of infant nutrition, the Kemp administration declined to expand the Pandemic Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program ( P-SNAP). The pandemic has created significant hardship among Georgian households, including an increase in food insecurity, which is the consistent inability to access enough food. The last of the enhanced payments will come out at the end of May, and the loss of tens of millions of P-SNAP benefits could contribute to a further rise in food insecurity and the need for emergency food providers among the nearly 2 million people who receive SNAPSHOT.
In March 2020, the Family First Coronavirus Response Act authorized states to provide additional benefits to give households the maximum SNAP benefit based on household size. P-SNAP has awarded an average of about $75 per person on SNAP to help feed Georgians during the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. However, the additional support has also been essential as inflation has driven up the cost of food and other essentials. With the latest numbers showing about 1.6 million people on SNAP in Georgia, ending the program could mean a loss of about $120 million in benefits.
Additional SNAP benefits support unemployed individuals and low-wage workers. Although more people are finding jobs today, low unemployment numbers don’t always translate into economic security, especially for blacks and browns. Georgia’s low unemployment rate masks higher levels of unemployment among black workers. And research shows that black workers take longer to recover from an economic downturn than white workers. Additionally, more black workers are involuntarily working part-time jobs than before the pandemic, leaving them with less income. In short, many families of color are still struggling to make ends meet even though they are working, and the loss of P-SNAP will only add to the stress.
P-SNAP loss will be more difficult in less urbanized areas of the state. Rural communities and small towns, which often have few jobs available and use SNAP at a higher rate than urban areas (see graph). Additionally, many rural counties have some of the highest rates of food insecurity in the state. As P-SNAP winds down and costs remain high, struggling people in rural communities are continually forced to make tough decisions about essentials like gas and food.
Georgia is emerging from the economic downturn of the pandemic, but the recovery is uneven and the inequalities that existed before the pandemic persist. Policymakers should use the temporary stimulus funds as a starting point to advance racial equity and should consider how to use state and federal resources for a vision for Georgia where blacks, browns and whites , city dwellers and long-time rural residents have a basis for the economy. opportunity.
 Based on United States Department of Agriculture administrative data.
 GBPI calculation of average P-SNAP benefits and latest USDA figure of SNAP cases.