HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – Virginia issued the final COVID-19 emergency SNAP, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, benefit payment.

That means people receiving SNAP benefits will soon see a decrease in the amount they get.

Bob McNab, an Old Dominion University economics professor, said inflation coupled with the decrease in SNAP benefits will leave more families in our region wondering where their next meal will come from.

“It’s tragic. Families will have less money to spend on food,” he said.

Eligible Virginians were receiving $95 more per month on their EBT card.

Congress authorized the additional money during the pandemic. Those benefits end in March, returning to pre-pandemic normal.

Food and gas prices haven’t followed suit.

“It’s on the heels of a highly inflationary economy, so at the end of the day, you have financially stressed household facing higher prices at the grocery store and pump,” McNab said.

On top of SNAP benefits decreasing, a 2023 Social Security cost-of-living adjustment could push some people into lower benefit-receiving brackets. It will even leave some families without SNAP benefits.

McNab said these changes will leave families searching for other ways to feed their families.

“They’ll have to turn to food banks, churches and other charities. That stresses families even more because you can’t just go to the grocery store now. You have to go elsewhere to find food to feed your family,” he said.

McNab said we need to support the most vulnerable in our communities.

He said one way is a simple donation.

“You’ll find food banks are very efficient about turning donations into food in people’s homes. That is a way you can take a little bit of money and have a large impact,” McNab said.

Know more

For those affected by the SNAP benefits reduction, click here for resources.

Here are some organizations whose mission is to deal with food insecurity: