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SNAP Enrollment In Pennsylvania Tops 2 Million People

People’s enrollment in the SNAP hits a record high that is 2 Million in Pennsylvania even when the unemployment is low.

January 10, 2024

Enrollment in the food assistance program in Pennsylvania has hit a record high as 2 Million participants have been receiving benefits in October and November.

Before the pandemic, roughly 1.7 Million Pennsylvanians were receiving assistance through SNAP. Now, the question is- Why is enrollment in SNAP high even when unemployment is low?
The unemployment rate in the state was as low as 3.4%. Experts and advocates suggest that the rise in program enrollment may be due to inflation and state policy changes that broadened eligibility and simplified the enrollment process. It can also be a sign that wages are not keeping up with inflation.

Ann Sanders said, “People … still … need to rely on forms of assistance to meet their basic needs. Housing costs have gone up a lot. Child care has gone up a lot. A lot of expenses have gone up a lot. Food has gone up a lot. And people’s wages have not kept up with that inflation, and so there’s still a gap that needs to be filled by programs like SNAP.”

An analysis revealed that the increase in SNAP enrollment is due to the policy changes made in 2022 which in turn increased eligibility from 165% to 200%.

Some benefit amounts were also increased at the start of 2021 but people also lost COVID-19 food assistance in early 2023.

The Department of Human Services officials said that the minimum wage in Pennsylvania has been $7.25 per hour since 2009 and discussions are going on to increase this.

SNAP has different rules for participation. According to the statistics, more than 41 Million people are enrolled in this program which is up from 36 Million people at the start of the pandemic.

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Giammarise Kate. “Despite low unemployment, Pennsylvania SNAP enrollment tops 2 million people — a record high”. WESA, January 10, 2024,
Pennsylvania SNAP enrollment tops 2 million people, a record high | 90.5 WESA

Last Updated: September 20, 2021