OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Officials are reminding Oklahoma residents that emergency SNAP benefit payments are coming to an end.

For the past nearly three years, Oklahomans receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits have been receiving an increased benefit allotment due to the pandemic.

The ’emergency allotments’ arrive in the last half of the month.

Oklahoma Human Services announced that those emergency payments intended to increase monthly SNAP benefits are coming to an end in February.

“The agency knows these additional benefits have been critical to meeting the needs of Oklahomans during such difficult times,” said Deb Smith, Director of Adult and Family Services. “We want to give families as much time as we can to plan to ease the transition into the end of the emergency allotments. We can also make connections to a host of wonderful community partners who stand in the gaps for our customers to offer help.”

Officials say Oklahomans should plan for a return to pre-pandemic SNAP benefits beginning March 1.

“We know that these increased benefits have been important to so many Oklahomans over the last three years and that this change will impact some SNAP users harder than others, particularly our senior and disabled neighbors,” said Chris Bernard, President/CEO of Hunger Free Oklahoma. “Undoubtedly, this will create an increased demand on our charitable organizations across the state and an increased need for Oklahomans to support their local food pantries and food banks. Hunger Free Oklahoma also stands ready to assist people and organizations to connect to more federal food resources and make sure that they are up to date in their information to receive the benefits to which they are entitled.”

In 2022, more than 408,000 Oklahoma families received SNAP benefits.