March 1, 2022

Lawmakers prepare to cut off enhanced food stamp benefits to Hoosiers on April 16

Indiana Republican lawmakers are poised to cut off extra food stamp benefits Hoosiers have received throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. - Brandon Smith/IPB News

Indiana Republican lawmakers are poised to cut off extra food stamp benefits Hoosiers have received throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brandon Smith/IPB News

Indiana Republican lawmakers are poised to cut off extra food stamp benefits Hoosiers have received throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The federal government made enhanced SNAP benefits available in the earliest days of the pandemic. And the Biden administration continued extending the federal health emergency, meaning those benefits are still available to Hoosiers, about $85 per family.

Indiana state lawmakers are preparing legislation to help the governor end the state’s public health emergency without losing access to federal funds, including SNAP. But that legislation includes a cutoff date for the extra food stamp funds: April 16.

That means, even if the federal government extends its health emergency again and continues to offer enhanced SNAP, Hoosiers won’t receive it.

Sen. Jean Breaux (D-Indianapolis) called that “reprehensible.”

“Families still need our help and it costs us nothing,” Breaux said.

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But Sen. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper) said there is a cost: increasing national debt.

“It might only be $90 here and $90 there but pretty soon, it’s real dollars," Messmer said. "And it’s something we’re all going to deal with for the rest of our lives.”

But if Indiana rejects the enhanced funds, those dollars will still get spent. They’ll just be spent in other states.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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