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SNAP benefits return to pre-COVID amounts | News, Sports, Jobs


Many Iowans rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to ensure they have enough food each month. Over the past two years, SNAP households have received additional benefits, but that’s about to change as COVID numbers continue to decline.

When a public health emergency was declared in April 2020, additional funds were allocated to SNAP recipients. As the emergency is over, supplementary benefits have also returned to pre-pandemic levels this month.

For Amanda Warnell, a single mother who lives in Marshalltown, this change is going to mean a lot more stress when running errands. Warnell has eight children, and although three of them have moved on, five still live with her. Their ages range from seven to 17 years old.

“It’s tough when you have so many kids and you’re just trying to get by, especially when they’re teenagers and they eat a lot,” Warnell said. “Right now, I’m a single mom. There is only one income in the house, so it will affect me immensely to lose half of these benefits.

Public Information Officer Alex Carfrae of the Department of Human Services (DHS) said additional benefits that began in April 2020 meant a minimum of an additional $95 per month for SNAP households, but some received significantly more in depending on their situation.

Warnell’s family received $1,500 a month with the extra benefits, but now that they’re going back to the original amount, they’ll only get $800 a month, which will almost halve their food budget.

“(The last two years) it was a really good feeling because when you get that extra amount, it just lasts longer. With my normal, what I go through in a month, without the extra, I won’t have probably more food stamps within two weeks,” she said.

The lost benefits also make it difficult to get foods her kids love, because they often don’t last as long.

“I try to get the meals they like and make them last, but you know when they come home from school they also want junk food and snacks. So it’s really tough,” Warnell said.

Even though Warnell is already working nights at Willows of Marshalltown, an assisted living facility, full-time at 40 hours a week, with the SNAP monthly benefits reduced, she either has to take extra shifts in her current position or find a job. part-time employment to supplement these losses.

“I have to move towards more food for the kids,” Warnell said.

Warnell thinks that extending the additional benefits of SNAP would be extremely helpful not only for her, but for many people who struggle to get by on a daily basis.

“It’s hard for a lot of people to work. It’s not just because some people don’t want to work, but with the pandemic and people’s immune systems, some people just can’t work and there are still a lot of places that are closed and not only work from home, so I think if they extended that it would really help a lot of people,” Warnell said.

According to DHS figures provided by Carfrae, Marshall County has 1,836 SNAP households with a total of 4,006 recipients. The average monthly benefit, including the extra dollars, is $501, but that number will drop since the extra benefits end.


Contact Susanna Meyer at 641-753-6611 or

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