HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, has experienced waves of change this year, from the end of emergency COVID-19 allotments in March to updates on general work requirements in September.

The Virginia Peninsula Foodbank‘s CEO Karen Joyner joined Digital Host Sarah Goode to discuss the latest set of changes put in place this month. Watch the Digital Desk conversation in the video player on this page.

As of Oct. 1, benefits and eligibility requirements changed.

Due to inflation, SNAP benefits for most people in the program will rise 12.5% from a cost-of-living adjustment, according to Joyner.

“Any time there are additional benefits for people who are food insecure, we really rally around that,” Joyner said. “It means maybe fewer people will end up in our lines, because we are able to feed more family throughout the month with increases.”

Joyner does not expect to see visible changes to the benefits increase until November, as participants see how the additional monthly amount impacts their need.

The group referred to as “able-bodied adults without dependents,” or ABAWDs, was raised to age 52. In October 2024, that number is expected to increase to 54. Click here to read more about the ABAWD changes. There are exceptions to the general work requirements.

Joyner does not expect the age change to significantly affect the need, as most of the need does stem from the families with children.

She said about 24% of those that visit the foodbank and their partner agencies are 60 and above.

Here are some statistics of SNAP in Virginia, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

  • In 2022, 794,00 Virginia residents, 9% of state population (about 1 in 11 people), participated in SNAP.
  • In 2022, more than 65% of SNAP participants are families with children. This matches the national average.
  • In 2022, SNAP participants in Virginia received $2.35 billion in 2022, including temporary pandemic relief. In 2019 it was $1 billion.

“Foodbanks are the safety net for the safety net,” Joyner said.

With any changes to SNAP or WIC, whether they are increases or decreases, there is a corresponding dramatic increase or decrease in supply at foodbanks and at partner agencies.

Click here to find out more about SNAP from the Virginia Department of Social Services.

Visit hrfoodbank.org to learn more about receiving help from the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank. Find information about mobile foodbanks near you or local partner agencies.

Watch the full Digital Desk conversation in the video player on this page to find out more.