Tuesday, January 26, 2021 - 10:18am

Lower-income North Dakotans who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to supplement their food budget are temporarily receiving some extra help. 

The federal Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 provided a temporary 15 percent increase in federally funded SNAP benefits. With support from the federal U.S. Department of Agriculture – Food and Nutrition Services (FNS), the North Dakota Department of Human Services is increasing SNAP benefits from January through June 2021 for all eligible households in the state.

The department estimates that the temporary increase in SNAP benefits will provide an extra $1.2 million in grocery buying power each month to over 24,000 North Dakota households. The SNAP program serves children, older adults, individuals with disabilities and low-income workers in North Dakota.

SNAP households already received the additional increase for January on their SNAP EBT cards on Jan. 12, 2021. Beginning in February and through June 2021, increased benefits will be available on SNAP EBT cards on the first day of every month.

The average monthly SNAP benefit in North Dakota is about $388. Benefit amounts vary and are based on family size and family members’ combined incomes. The extra benefit amounts will vary by household size.

The minimum benefit for a one or a two-person household is increasing from $16 to $19 a month. The maximum benefit is increasing from $374 to $430 for a two-person household and from $535 to $616 for a three-person household. A table showing the maximum SNAP benefit amounts with this temporary increase is online at www.nd.gov/dhs/services/financialhelp/foodstamps.html.

North Dakotans who are having problems affording food are encouraged to apply for SNAP online at www.nd.gov/dhs/info/pubs/application.html or by contacting their local human service zone office, formerly called county social service offices.

Zone offices may be restricting public access due to COVID-19 but are still providing services by phone, email and fax. Contact information is online at www.nd.gov/dhs/locations/countysocialserv/index.html.