CHN’s COVID-19 Watch: Tracking Hardship, February 24, 2023


February 24, 2023

COVID-19 HardshipFebruary 24, 2023 

The essentiality of SNAP edition. When the Great Recession took root in 2008 and worsened the following year, Congress did not act aggressively enough to protect America’s safety net. One result: as job losses escalated, hunger surged from 11.1 percent to 14.7 percent, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. But when the coronavirus pandemic caused an even worse (if shorter) disruption of the economy in the spring of 2020, Congress was more proactive. One of the measures it passed as part of an initial COVID-19 relief package was additional SNAP aid. 

The extra aid helped alleviate hunger in the U.S. — during the first years of the pandemic, hunger in our country did not increase appreciably. One study estimated that the aid kept 4.2 million people above the poverty line during the last quarter of 2021, reducing overall poverty by 10 percent and child poverty by 14 percent. The estimated reduction in poverty was higher for Black and Latino people. 

Now, beginning next week, the extra aid is ending in 32 states, plus Washington, D.C., Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In the 35 locations that are affected, every SNAP household will lose at least $95 in monthly benefits. Some households will lose $250 or more. As CBPP notes, the average person will receive about $90 less in SNAP benefits.  (The rest of the states have already ended the emergency allotments.) 

Because the cuts are large and happening so quickly, we can expect another surge in hunger. And there are even larger threats on the horizon. Some House Republicans plan to target SNAP  by forcing cuts as part of their price for raising the debt limit, or as part of reauthorization of the farm bill. Their plans include benefit cuts and onerous work requirements, which would result in potentially millions of recipients losing access to coverage. They also have called for limiting aid to entire categories of recipients, including poor people with no dependent children and families whose members do not all possess Social Security numbers. 

SNAP is essential and these proposed cuts are unacceptable. Watch this space in the coming weeks and months – we’ll be asking you to take action.  



More than 42 million/$257 

The number of Americans who receive SNAP benefits. The average household benefit is just under $257 a month, as of February 10, 2023. Tweet this.



From late December 2020 through December 2021, the share of people who did not have enough to eat fell 7.8 percentage points for Black adults, 6 percentage points for Hispanic adults, and 3.1 percentage points for non-Hispanic White adults. Tweet this.



After the SNAP cuts kick in beginning March 1, the average SNAP benefit will be just $6.10 per person per day. Tweet this.


$3 billion 

In recent months, the additional SNAP aid, known as “emergency allotments,” provided about $3 billion a month in the states in which they are in effect. Tweet this.



11.4 percent of respondents said they did not have enough to eat in the latest Household Pulse Survey, covering the period of February 1-13. This included 19.7 percent of Blacks, 16.9 percent of Hispanics, 8.6 percent of Whites, and 6.2 percent of Asians. And it included 14.4 percent of households with children, compared to 9.6 percent of households without children. Tweet this.


More than 1 in 3 

More than one-third of Florida residents earning $50,000 to $100,000 annually reported facing food insecurity during the past year, according to a startling new survey. Many families in that income range earn too much to qualify for free or reduced-price school meals or SNAP. Forty-seven percent of parents and 48 percent of rural residents said their families had experienced food insecurity.


More than 2X 

Blacks and Latinos are more than twice as likely as Whites to be enrolled in Medicaid – another example of why the Medicaid eligibility determinations now under way in many states will have a disproportionate impact on people of color.



The nation will face a shortage of 120,000 doctors over the next decade and 450,000 nurses over the next two years, according to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.


Nearly 50% 

Deaths in state and federal prisons across the U.S. rose nearly 50 percent during the first year of the pandemic, and in six states more than doubled. The states with the highest death rates were Alabama, Arkansas, Michigan, Nevada, South Carolina, and West Virginia (which had the highest death rate).




The North Carolina House of Representatives has approved Medicaid expansion on a strong, bipartisan 96-23 vote, with every Democrat and two-thirds of Republicans present voting for the measure. The bill, which potentially could cover 600,000 residents who do not currently qualify for Medicaid, now goes to the Senate, and advocates say chances of passage are good. North Carolina stands to lose as many as 300,000 from its Medicaid rolls as pandemic-era extra aid comes to an end. Many of these recipients could receive coverage under expansion, which would take effect in January.