OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma expects a rise in demand for food assistance as Oklahomans receive their final Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) COVID-19 emergency benefits in February.

According to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, more than 855,000 Oklahomans received SNAP benefits in 2022.

The allotments began in March 2020 to help address temporary food needs and ease economic stress during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through the allotments, all SNAP households received an additional $95 in benefits or an additional benefit valued up to the maximum benefit for their household size, whichever value was greater.

With the emergency allotments ending, SNAP participants will see their benefits decrease anywhere between $55 to $255 per person per month, depending upon income and household size based upon standard SNAP eligibility criteria.

“The amount of money may seem insignificant to some, but to Oklahomans living with hunger it could mean they are no longer able to provide important nutrition for their families,” said Stacy Dykstra, chief executive officer of the Regional Food Bank. “The Regional Food Bank is ready assist our neighbors who find themselves in need of more food assistance following this change in federal policy.”

Recent cost of living adjustments to both SNAP and Social Security programs could lead to further reductions or even the loss of SNAP benefits based upon income adjustments.

The Regional Food Bank’s partner network offers food assistance in 53 counties in central and western Oklahoma.

Through the organization’s website, Oklahomans can enter their address or zip code and find all Regional Food Bank partners in their area.

“We encourage Oklahomans enrolled in SNAP to find a Regional Food Bank partner in your area,” Dykstra said. “If the change in SNAP benefits does not provide enough food for your family, food assistance is always available at our partners.”

Oklahomans impacted by the ending of emergency allotments may contact the Regional Food Bank’s SNAP outreach specialists to help answer any questions they may have about their SNAP benefits. Visit rfbo.org/SNAP or call 405-600-3168 to learn more.

Any case specific questions should be directed to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services at 405-522-5050.