As Pandemic SNAP Benefits Come to End, Mass. Lawmakers to Mull State Help

The meeting is set for 10 a.m. and will take place virtually

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A federal program that expanded SNAP benefits during the pandemic is set to expire next month, impacting thousands of people across Massachusetts, and state lawmakers are meeting Wednesday to discuss whether the Commonwealth should take action.

The end of the emergency federal program would impact about 640,000 families in Massachusetts, when it closes on March 2. On average, the emergency benefits from Washington added $151 per household.

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Lawmakers on Beacon Hill met on Wednesday to try and figure out how the state can continue to help families who are impacted by this. Governor Maura Healey has proposed allocating about $130 million to give extra SNAP benefits for three months, something her administration described as an "off ramp" to ease the transition.

Jean McMurray, executive director fo the Worcester County Food Bank, said an extra three months would help but a better solution is still needed.

“It also gives families and advocates and organizations a little more breathing room, so that we have another three months to strategize and look at what other options could there be.”

This is all happening as the federal COVID public health emergency is set to end this spring, three years after the pandemic began.

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